I was 10 years old when Billy Graham looked down at me, placed his giant hand on the top of my head, and gave it a good shake. I remember the moment vividly, but the heart emotions that I felt at the moment are even more radiant in my memories.
My friend’s dad used to work for the Billy Graham Crusade, so when the Crusade was coming within driving distance, they were heading to visit, and I got the invite to tag along. My parents were thrilled for me to have this opportunity. I, on the other hand, was thrilled for the fun car ride that lead me out of our little tiny town on an adventure with my BFF.
When we arrived, we walked into a tented area for staff only. I can only remember tables and tables of food. All I could think was, “I’m not really sure who this Billy Graham is, but he eats like a king!” The parents went off with the other staff to listen as Billy Graham was speaking, and there us kids were left in a room with all that food, and we ate and ate and ate.
At the end of the night all of us kids were lined up in a row beside the adults as Billy Graham was walking past to get in his car. He was chatting and talking to my friends parents as he passed by shaking hands and laughing with them – then he stopped at us little kids. I wish I could remember the words he spoke to us, but all I can remember is that giant hand messing up the neat half-ponytail on my head as he gave it that good shake.
He seemed like a giant, both in his stature and his presence. He walked with a posture that commanded the room; yet, with a spirit that you just knew that he probably gave the best bear hugs out there.
All of the sudden all the memories of the car ride, of the food, of spending those couple of hours with no parents, were side memories to this prominent experience forming in front of me. You see, Billy Graham had a way of making everyone around him feel loved – loved by Jesus. His whole purpose was to bring people closer to Jesus. You could feel it all, just by standing next to him.
I would reflect on that experience as I grew up – wanting to possess that same spirit.
My name is not Billy Graham. God has a different plan for me then He did for Billy Graham; yet, I know my purpose is still the same: to bring as many people as a can into God’s Kingdom while sharing the love of Jesus – while living in that love. Ever since the age of 10, I had a new life goal that even if people would have one encounter with me, that they would also have an encounter with Jesus. I’m far from my life goal, yet it’s on my thoughts daily to strive for.
Billy Graham left behind a legacy of love – a legacy that we can continue. Today, I remember a human man that walked with God. Now, I'm off to go embrace my purpose.
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
-Written by Nicole Dickey