When my wife’s Grandparents passed away, family members requested certain things that were special for memories of these great people. My wife received stuff from his cattle ranching days. Once everything was distributed, a couple items were left without takers. Car-hauling pictures and religious stuff were offered to me.
In a box with a family Bible, a ton of pastor’s notes (my wife’s great Grandfather was a presbyterian pastor), was an autographed copy of Billy Graham’s 1953 edition of “Peace with God.”
It rests on a shelf in my library beside other books that I consider very special. The things that make it special include where it came from, whose it was, its age, its autograph…
…and also a story I heard on the radio not long after receiving the book. A missionary in a nation where Christian persecution was great at the time, used the book’s title to share the Gospel. He would approach people on the streets with book in hand and ask, “Do you have Peace with God?” It was assumed he was simply asking if they owned the book. Their reaction determined whether he presented the Gospel or not (wise as serpents, gentle as doves).
The back of the protective cover (torn in places) pictures a very young Billy Graham walking towards the camera in a long dark robe. I have assumed, all of my life, Billy Graham was associated with the Baptist denomination (I may be wrong). If so, did Baptist ministers attire themselves this way in the fifties?