Billy Graham story
This is a story I heard at a men's conference a few months ago, and it appears in Billy Graham's autobiography.
It begins just after Graham completes a round of golf with JFK in 1961, just before he took office as president:
On the way back to the Kennedy house, the President-elect stopped the car and turned to me. "Do you believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?" he asked unexpectedly.
"I most certainly do."
"Well, does my church believe it?"
"They have it in their creeds."
"They don't preach it," he said. "They don't tell us much about it. I'd like to know what you think."
I explained what the Bible said about Christ coming the first time, dying on the Cross, rising from the dead, and then promising that He would come back again. "Only then, " I said, "are we going to have permanent world peace."
"Very interesting," he said, looking away. "We'll have to talk more about that someday." And he drove on.
About four pages later in the book, Graham recounts the last time that he was with Kennedy, at the 1963 National Prayer Breakfast:
I had the flu. "Mr. President, I don't want to give you this bug that I've got, so I'm not going to talk right at your face."
"Oh, I don't mind," he said. "I talk to a lot of people all day long who have got all kinds of bugs."
After I gave my short talk, and he gave his, we walked out of the hotel to his car together, as was always our custom. At the curb, he turned to me.
"Billy, could you ride back to the White House with me? I'd like to see you for a minute."
"Mr. President, I've got a fever," I protested. "Not only am I weak, but I don't want to give you this thing. Couldn't we wait and talk some other time?"
It was a cold, snowy day, and I was freezing as a stood there without my overcoat.
"Of course," he said graciously.
His hesitation at the car door, and his request, haunt me still. What was on his mind? Should I have gone with him? It was an irrecoverable moment.
This serves as a stark reminder to me and to all Christians to take the opportunities we are given to share our faith. However, it is also a reminder not to let regret eat away at us.
Billy Graham is probably the most well-respected evangelist of our age, and he did not allow his personal regret to stop him from reaching thousands and thousands of lost souls over the years since.