Wow. This tome took me almost a full year to read. While I normally read through books at a much faster pace, this book was far too meaty to tackle it in one go. There were plenty of weeks in which I did not pick it up at all, because the information within was overwhelming at times.
Billy Graham is someone my dad always had great respect for. I have never known much about him other than that he is one of the world’s most prolific evangelists, and through his preaching, thousands upon thousands have turned their lives over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I have never heard him preach, that I can remember. This book also belonged to my dad, and so it was important to me to read it.
Overall, I found the writing style very dry and straightforward. It often reads like a textbook written in the first person. However, the timeline of events and the milestones all serve to make clear that Dr. Graham is truly a humble man. He often turns the story away from himself, and toward others. I worried that his chapters on his relationships with various Presidents and world leaders would just be name-dropping chapters. Not so. Those chapters illustrate Billy Graham’s desire to believe the best about everyone. To love everyone as he loves himself. To pray and encourage and share the Gospel with everyone, whether they are paupers, priests, or kings. I found his writing honest and forthright, with nary a hint of exaggeration or sensationalism.
My favorite chapters were the final chapters, which feel much more personal and open than the rest. These chapters zero in on his family life, his personal walk with Christ, and even his regrets as he looks back on his life. I feel almost as though these chapters could have been the sum total of his autobiography, as they illustrate his true legacy.
I am so glad I took the time to read every word of this book, and so grateful for this glimpse into the life of one of the 20th century’s spiritual giants. A man marked by a passion for the Gospel, a love for the lost of the world, and who genuinely walked humbly with his God. Now 96 years old, this book was published when he was in his late 70’s, and I often wonder what pages he might add if he could.