Yesterday marked 33 years since Keith Green and his two children went to heaven. A few years ago on a rainy East Texas spring day after speaking to hundreds of young people at Teen Mania I went to a small cemetery in Garden Valley, Texas. I was there to thank God for the lives of two men of God buried there – Keith Green and Leonard Ravenhill.
As I walked to Keith Green’s grave, I recalled that wrenching day in the summer of 1982 when this trailblazing musician-prophet was suddenly whisked into heaven at age 29 in a plane crash just beyond the property of Green’s Last Days Ministries. Compounding the grief felt by multitudes of young Christians, Keith and Melody Green’s three year old son, Josiah, and their two year old daughter, Bethany, also died in the crash.
The gravestone marking where Keith, Josiah, and Bethany are buried bears the hope-filled reminder that they are “Gone To Be With Jesus.” Inscribed on the stone is John 12:24: “Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.”
Keith’s life and ministry continue to bear much fruit today as his passionate love for Jesus, so powerfully expressed through his timeless music, is rediscovered by a new generation. There at his grave I softly sang the song he and Melody had written shortly before his death:
There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, holy One.
Jesus, my Redeemer, Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, O for sinners slain.
When I stand in Glory, I will see His face
There I’ll serve my King forever, in that holy place.
Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit ’til the work on earth is done