Reverend Billy Graham, his wife Ruth, and their entire family have fascinated me for years. As a little girl, I can remember my parents tuning in to watch Billy Graham at one of his many Crusades. (We had one, and only one black and white television in those days, just to date myself.)
When the Crusades were on, I got to stay up late. I’d like to report I became a changed child on the spot, but sadly, my all-about-me ways stayed put for more than a few more years. Good news is many a seed was planted in my heart.
Who knew years later I’d have the chance to connect with Anne Graham Lotz? As is customary with her family, she did something beyond generous for our Book Club.
Trying to keep up with technology, our Book Club began Skyping with our authors. This was a huge treat to “meet them” and hear from them on the spot.
I approached Anne’s Assistant and asked if Anne might consider Skyping with us. She knew of our church, Southeast Christian Church (www.southeastchristian.org ), and after a time of prayer and consideration, we gleefully received the green light.
Our selection that month was one of my favorite books by Anne, The Magnificent Obsession: Embracing the God-Filled Life. It’s a must-read. (There’s a companion Bible study with it that’s also outstanding.)
As our time approached for the Skype, I received a frantic email from Anne’s Assistant. Anne’s husband, Danny, because of his frail health, required a procedure on his heart. Docs were able to do it the very day of our meeting, preventing Anne from joining us. Disappointed, yes, but we totally understood.
Only a few days later, I received a mind-blowing email from Anne’s Assistant:
“Because Anne feels so badly for cancelling the Skype, she has made a short video, addressed to your attendees, you’ll be able to show the night of your meeting.” Goodness, how kind and thoughtful of her! I’ll never forget it. We were all so blessed to hear from her on such a personal level. She wrote me a handwritten letter after our meeting.
Recently I received the January issue of Decision magazine. (It’s a publication by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. www.bgea.org )
Anne’s article, challenging as always, is timely for us with 2015 already in progress. I love Anne’s honesty…see if you can relate:
“As I reflect on 2014, blessings come to mind. So do burdens.
Prayers that were answered, and other prayers that remain unanswered.
Friends who stood by me, and others who avoided me.
Days when I had health and energy, and other days when I was so tired I felt I couldn’t hold my head up one more moment.
Times to relax, and times of enormous stress.
Hope that filled my heart, and disappointments that crushed my spirit….”
With that, Anne gives us a glimpse into her days with her Mother, Ruth, knowing she, too, “must have had days and weeks and months and years” like Anne’s.
Ruth had a small gold-framed saying she kept over her kitchen sink, of which she gave Anne a duplicate. It reads:
“Praise, Pray and Peg Away.”
Anne says it’s become her motto for 2015. Her version looks like this:
Praise Him for His Position, Power and Purity.
(Just a few of the relevant Scriptures she suggests are: Isaiah 6:1-4, John 12:41, Philippians 2:5-11, Ephesians 1:20-23, Matthew 28:18, Acts 10:36, John 14:13-14, Romans 10:9-10)
(Philippians 4:6-7, Acts 1:6-9,14, John 14:1-3, 1 Peter 4:7, Mark 13:32-33, James 5:16-18)
(Hebrews 10:23-25, Romans 8:23-25, James 1:3-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 5:1-5 and Hebrews 10:35-39)
She concludes her article with a challenge:
“As we face another year,
would you join me
in claiming and clinging to His promises
with praise, prayer and perseverance
until our faith becomes sight?”
I pray Anne’s and her Mother’s very practical insight blesses you and encourages you to “Praise, Pray and Peg Away”.
For me, and I suspect you, to “peg away”, or persevere, is key.
Of all the verses Anne suggests, James 1:3-4 in the Message really resonates. Eugene Peterson dubs it:
“Faith Under Pressure”:
Ever the humorist, I’d like to show you Ruth Graham’s tombstone. You can see it at the unforgettable and most moving Billy Graham Library. (www.billygrahamlibrary.org )
“End of Construction—Thank you for your patience”
Let’s agree with Ruth and Anne to PRAISE, PRAY AND PEG AWAY…. praying for perseverance throughout 2015.
‘Til next time!