One of my heroes died today. The Reverend Billy Graham.
Confidante of presidents and comforter of kings, this chosen vessel influenced millions during his 99 years on earth. Even though his ministry thrust him under the international spotlight, he never sought it, this man of humble beginnings and faithfulness to the end.
His message impacted many in a personal way, including me.
My father, Don C. Perrin, II, gave his heart to Christ at the Billy Graham Chicago Crusade in 1962. Nine years later, he took the stage with the choir, singing his heart out, grateful to attend as one saved, no longer seeking.
Had Billy not sacrificed time with his family, time pursuing his own interests, time chasing his professional goals, perhaps my father would not have come to know the Lord and decided to raise his family in the Christian faith.
Perhaps I would not know Him today.
I can only imagine what it must have been like for the Graham Family, wrestling through all of that time apart, 60% of his childrearing years, Billy once calculated. That’s more than half the time without Daddy.
That’s a lot.
But God knew that. He knew the calling He’d placed on Billy’s life and that of his family, and the Lord sustained and grew them through all of the road trips and Crusades, the missed milestones and life events.
God blessed Billy with an extraordinary life. I’m grateful he selflessly shared it with the world so that we too might know Him and be moved to spread the gospel.
O God, let my soul never fail to be ignited afresh by the passion of this dear saint!
Thank you, Billy, for giving tirelessly of yourself, in order that the desperate, the dying, and those without hope would be infused with joy and peace eternal. Thank you for trying so hard to establish connections without condemnation, a safe haven for those searching out rest. Thank you for loyally modeling grace and respect to every person.
And so much more.
May the Lord move my heart with such boldness, fervor, and loyalty the rest of my days – and beyond. You have been loved, you’re already missed, you’re where you belong.
Can’t wait to meet you in glory!