Kathie Lee Gifford returned to her role as co-host of the Today Show yesterday after the Aug. 9 death of her husband, the NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster, Frank Gifford. On her first day back, she shared a bit about “the private Frank,” including stories of his impoverished upbringing during the Great Depression and his lifelong faith.
In doing so, Kathie Lee shared the Gospel.
Mrs. Gifford took an opportunity to remember her husband and used it to interweave the essentials of Christianity. She unabashedly shared how Frank came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as a young child and how that faith (which he strayed from on occasion) ultimately became the anchor of his life. Kathie Lee explained:
His world got smaller as his God got bigger. He died in complete peace. He knew every sin he’d ever committed was forgiven. He had the hope that he would be with the Lord and we’d someday be as well. That is the foundation of the Christian faith: forgiveness, grace and hope. And those of you who are hurting today and feel hopeless? It might be the answer for you. In fact, I know it’s the answer for you.
She then shared about a trip she took with Frank to the Holy Land a few years ago, and how that trip forever impacted Frank. They visited the place where the ancient story of David and Goliath took place with Ray Vander Laan, who hosts Focus on the Family’s “That the World May Know” video series. If you’ve heard Ray share truths about the Bible where the events actually took place, you know how life-changing the experience can be.
According to Kathie Lee, from that point, Frank Gifford had “a completely new perspective.” The trophies and NFL Championships rings he’d earned throughout the years didn’t matter as much as did a stone he retrieved from the brook where David gathered his stones the day he slayed Goliath.
If you’re not familiar with Ray Vander Laan, may I encourage you to watch as Ray Vander Laan shows us There’s Hope in the Desert when life is tough – even for David of the Bible? I also encourage you to check out “That the World May Know.” Focus on the Family has been working with Ray for 22 years to produce these video Bible studies which have touched the lives of tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of people worldwide.
Finally, you can also listen to our recent broadcast with Ray, where he talked about “Our Mission in a Prodigal World,” which uses the parable of the prodigal son as a backdrop for the lesson which explores God’s mission for His people to a lost and broken world.
Our God has a heart for the lost. He’s a God who has pursued each of us, including Frank Gifford. I’m glad Kathie Lee can mourn the loss of her beloved husband with the knowledge that he’s now in the presence of his savior. I pray the Holy Spirit will comfort her during this time.
Here is Kathie Lee Gifford’s full tribute: