My car needed a good bath after a long trip down south. The Love Bugs were out but I wasn’t too happy with that kind of Love and that Love needed to be washed away!
As I entered the car wash waiting room, the TV was on and Billy Graham was being honored in the Capitol. I was happy to see it and glad I wasn’t missing this beautiful ceremony for a beautiful man. The sound was off and that was okay. The words were on the screen and I was able to grasp the solemness of the moment. I watched as the pall bearers took small steps up the Capitol and I prayed that no one would slip and fall. It would be horrible yet I knew God’s Angel Armies were steadying their steps. He certainly would not let anyone fall carrying this warrior of love.
It was grueling watching them take such small steps carrying a heavy load and then I thought of all of us who have experienced that before.
We’ve struggled to move forward in life because the steps were too steep.
We’ve taken steps to our future and then something happens and we take two steps back or fall flat on our face.
We’ve had to carry the burdens of our own life and we’ve had to carry the burdens of our family members or friends too when they needed us.
We’ve had to take those steps … sometimes … all alone with no one to help us up or keep us motivated to carry on.
And … the painful steps when we’ve buried loved ones way too young, buried a marriage because of neglect, or buried our souls inside alcohol or drugs.
Oh the steps we take. They are so hard at times. And sometimes — we are the reason they are hard.
The pall bearers made it to the top step and I took a sigh of relief. Billy had made it to the top – in more ways than one!
The car wash was packed with cars and I was happy about that. I was able to view the entire service. I watched the American protocols play out and loved every minute of it and found myself more in love with Billy Graham and my country!
Before I knew it, tears were rolling rapidly down the sides of my cheeks. I wiped and wiped and just could not stop them. My heart was full and when your heart is full – tears fall. At least that’s how it works for me!
My car came rolling out of the car wash and I knew I had only minutes to keep watching. I stood up and as I did, a young black man who worked at the car wash came inside. He saw me standing, watching the tv and tears rolling down my cheeks. He asked, “What’s wrong?” I said, “I’m watching the memorial service of Billy Graham in our Nation’s Capitol.” He looked up at the TV and responded, “He was a great man, wasn’t he?”
Truthfully I was stunned. I didn’t expect this 20 Something man to know who Billy Graham was. He had disappeared from the stadiums and the airwaves for many years now so how did he know Billy Graham?
He smiled at me and I said, “Yes he was. He was an honorable man and we need more honorable men in this world.”
He responded, “Yes mam, we do. We sure do.”
Our eyes met, we both smiled and we turned to the TV just in time to hear U S Senate Chaplain Retired Rear Admiral Barry Black pray this prayer:
ALMIGHTY GOD, THE FOUNTAIN OF EVERY BLESSING, WE PRAISE YOU FOR YOUR GREATNESS AND GOODNESS THAT GAVE OUR NATION AND WORLD THE GIFT OF YOUR SERVANT, EVANGELISTS WILLIAM FRANKLIN GRAHAM JUNIOR. WE THANK YOU FOR USING HIM TO PREACH YOUR GOSPEL AROUND THE WORLD, TO COUNSEL AND PRAY FOR NATIONAL AND GLOBAL LEADERS, AND TO INVITE THE MULTITUDES TO START AND SUSTAIN AN EXPERIENTIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU. LORD, WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR HIS SCANDAL-FREE LIFE OF INTEGRITY. YOU ARE DERIVED BY CONDUCT THAT WAS ABOVE REPROACH. YOU BLESSED HIM THROUGH HIS HUMILITY AND COMMITMENT TO YOU, TO BRING DELIVERANCE TO THOSE HELD CAPTIVE BY SIN, TO RESTORE SIGHT TO THE MORALLY AND ETHICALLY BLIND,AND TO SET ON THE PATH OF FREEDOM THOSE SHACKLES BY ADDICTIONS AND DESPAIR. THANK YOU, LORD. THE FORCE OF BILLY GRAHAM’S CONVICTIONS TRANSCENDED THE BOUNDARIES THAT DIVIDE HUMANITY,CREATING A SPIRIT OF ONENESS. INSPIRED BY HIS GREAT LIFE, CHALLENGE US ALL TO BECOME LIGHT TO OUR GENERATION. USE US, O GOD, AS YOU USED EVANGELISTS BILLY GRAHAM SO THAT THE WORDS AND THE MEDITATIONS AND HEARTS WILL ALWAYS BE ACCEPTABLE TO YOU. I PRAY IN THE NAME OF BILLY GRAHAM’S SAVIOR AND CLOSEST FRIEND, JESUS
When he finished the prayer, I turned to my car wash friend and said, “Wow. A scandal free life. A man of conviction. A man of humility. They don’t make men like that anymore.”
“Yes, mam, that man will be a hard one to follow,” he said.
And then I felt a tug and a whisper to speak words of encouragement over this young man. I didn’t know him. But something was in him. Something that was seeping out of his spirit. He was a good man and he had the world waiting for him. I almost felt honored to be in his presence. I felt a little awkward doing it but knew God wanted me to. I said, “May you lead a life of integrity too and may you be one of many who brings light to your generation. I encourage you to make each step you take one of love and help others with their burdens too. It’s hard out there. We need men like you to step up to the plate.”
He smiled back at me and said, “I’ll try. Don’t worry, mam, there are still good men in this world. I am going to try to be a good man.”
And before we knew it, we hugged. Two strangers watching Billy Graham’s memorial service hugging inside the car wash waiting room. Go figure!
I gave him a pat on the back and said, “We’re counting on you!”
I put an extra big tip in the tip jar and I didn’t walk to my car – I floated. I had just encountered Oneness with a complete stranger and it felt heavenly. Something magical had just happened and I didn’t want the feeling to end.
When I got to my car, I turned around and watched this young black man smiling and patting a co-worker on the back and I knew he was taking steps to make the world a better place already. A pat on the back can start his life’s work. I prayed God would bless him and keep him safe as he steps into his calling and becomes one of many who will change the world.
I laughed as I pulled out of the car wash. Billy Graham had done it again. Even in death he had somehow found a way to share Love with the world. I wondered how many other Oneness exchanges were happening all over the world because of his death and I felt giddy just thinking about it.
I drove away thinking about the steps I take every day and vowed that every single day for the rest of my life — I would speak honorable and loving words into complete strangers — and into those I love more than life. Although I will do it to help them, I know those words will help me too. That’s just the way it works!
We get back what we give. If I give love and encouragement, bingo, I get it back! Not always at first, but always – eventually!
So…this morning the love bugs are gone from my car and the love of Billy Graham’s Jesus is stronger than ever in this woman’s heart. Why? Because she found hope again in the face of a young, black man — who I do believe could have been an angel in disguise. I’m not sure if I helped him or he helped me. No way to tell but no need to know. It just feels good knowing two strangers shared something special yesterday and I want to keep that feeling going!
For those of you who are having trouble with your own steps in life, might I suggest this:
- Let Him direct your footsteps. You get His direction by responding to that still, small voice. You know the one. You’ve heard it — don’t ignore it. Do the right things in life and life will be all right with you.
- Speak words of encouragement to others. It will make your steps lighter too!
- If you have sin in your life – take steps to get it gone! Life is harder when sin rules over you. I have the answer to “getting it gone” — Jesus.
So in honor of Billy Graham — take a listen to his favorite song which ended all his crusades…Just As I Am. That should get your feet moving in the right direction and stepping lightly through life today!
God bless you my precious friends. Jesus loves you just as you are and will help you be a better person…guaranteed!