Billy Graham's Life: Spiritual Leadership, And A Wrong Diagnosis That Confuses Many To This Day
Earlier this year, when Billy Graham died at the age of 99, the United States lost one of its greatest spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He lived a great and inspiring life, touching the lives of millions of Americans and people all over the world. At Rev. Graham’s funeral, Paul Ryan rightly called him “America’s Pastor.”
Graham’s path to becoming the most influential America’s evangelical began in 1934 when he met a preacher who came to organize revival meetings in his home city, Charlotte. That’s when the young Billy, who was just a 15-year-old farm boy back then, knew his purpose in life would be to spread the word of God.
Over his long life, Billy Graham delivered dozens of sermons heard and seen by millions of Americans. He won the hearts of people in 185 countries and territories where he preached. He can be rightfully credited with the revival of Evangelism in America and beyond.
Rev. Graham met twelve U.S. presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. Each of them received spiritual advice from the country’s most popular preacher. The man was widely respected on both sides of the aisle.
At the time of his death, Billy Graham was sound in mind. In 1992, he was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after displaying several symptoms consistent with the condition (these included hand tremors and difficulty walking). In 2013, his son, Franklin Graham, said in an interview with Parade magazine that his father didn’t have Parkinson’s:
Dad had a buildup of spinal fluid on the brain 12 or 13 years ago. At first, they thought it was Parkinson’s, but a shunt solved that. His mind is crystal clear. He now thinks he’ll live to be 100. He keeps moving the goalpost.
The late preacher was only several months short of reaching that goalpost. He lived a long and fulfilling life, and his influence on the religious life in America will still be felt decades after his passing.