Thursday, February 22, 2018

"It's all going to turn out all right"

About 25 years ago Billy Graham joined me and a half dozen other editors at The Reader's Digest in Chappaqua, New York, for lunch. We often hosted notable guests in the dining room of a refurbished farm house on the Digest property.

I had grown up watching Billy Graham on television, and I probably sat there with my mouth open the whole time, staring at this great person.

He was a tall, distinguished man, but not imposing. He was calm and relaxed. You wouldn't know that he had preached in 200 countries and counseled every president since Harry Truman. He was genuinely humble, just there to chat. He exuded an aura of peace.

We called him simply "Billy Graham," not some pompous "Rev. William Franklin Graham." Other people have had the same impression I did. Journalist Cal Thomas:
In my long career in journalism, I have met many famous people, but none of them impressed me as much as William Franklin "Billy" Graham. The reason had less to do with his fame and movie star looks; it was his humility that was so attractive, so refreshing, so like the One he faithfully served.

My conversations with him quickly turned to me. He wanted to know about my family, how I was doing. Politicians do this, too, but often it is a manipulative technique. With Graham, it was real. It is why so many loved him, including those who do not share his faith.
I've found a few quotes of his that are appropriate for this day.

"I haven't written my own epitaph, and I'm not sure I should. Whatever it is, I hope it will be simple, and that it will point people not to me, but to the One I served."

"God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there."

"I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right."

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