Pastor Opens Up about His Longtime Friendship with Late Evangelist Billy Graham
In a new interview, Billy Graham's friend and personal pastor Don Wilton shared that he cherished his friendship with the late evangelist and asserted that Graham represented the "very heartbeat of God."
"Mr. Graham's heartbeat and passion and reflection of the very face of God showed deeply, penetrated my own heart and life," Wilton said in an interview with The Christian Post. "I've never been around a man personally like that, who so deeply and genuinely and consistently reflected the face of God's grace. As a pastor myself, one can only imagine the enormous depth of the blessing that God conferred on me every time I was with him every week."
Wilton is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is also the founder of the global network, The Encouraging Word.
Wilton said he and Graham met weekly on Saturdays for about 15 years. Wilton was also able to visit Graham just before he died in 2018.
"Most people, the closer you get to them, the more you realize they have clay feet," Wilton said. "But the closer I got to this man, Billy Graham, the more I realized that he was just full of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that showed throughout his life and his demeanor. Everything pointed to Jesus."
In a new book, Wilton says he hopes to honor Graham. The book Saturdays with Billy: My Friendship with Billy Graham details their friendship and includes photographs of the late evangelist.
Even though Wilton was his pastor, he says he also learned many lessons from Graham. He also said he was inspired by the deep love Graham had for his wife, Ruth. Ruth died in 2007.
"It was not uncommon for me to be sitting outside having tea with Mr. Graham, and he'd be staring out the window. I'd say to him, 'Mr. Graham, what are you looking at?'" he recalled. "And he'd say, 'I can just see Ruth standing in the kitchen preparing something nice for us.'"
"It sounds very simplistic, but he had such a very tender and deep love for her that when she went on to be with the Lord, he had a deep gap and grief in his heart.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Keystone/Stringer
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.