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Billy Graham: Wife Ruth sacrificed dream to partner with evangelist

Ruth and Billy book delves into relationship.
Ruth and Billy book delves into relationship.
Ruth and Billy Graham: The Legacy of a Couple

Billy Graham's late wife Ruth sacrificed her dream of being a missionary to Tibet so she could partner with him in his work, according to a recently published book on the famous couple. The author said he wrote the book because he'd read several biographies of the evangelist but none that really delved into Ruth's life, during an interview today, Saturday, Feb. 15 in the Christian Post.

One of the keys to their successful relationship was Ruth's great sense of humor. When she was once asked if she ever thought of divorcing Billy she joked, "No, but I have thought of killing."

Hanspeter Nuesch, the author of " Ruth and Billy Graham: The Legacy of a Couple", has served as director of the Campus Crusade for Christ in Switzerland for 30 years, and spent considerable time with the Grahams.

Ruth's death in 2007 was the only thing that ever separated the two. Graham is now 95.

Nuesch recalled one incident when Graham received a phone call from the President of the United States and informed him he was in the middle of a conversation with the housemaid and would have to call him back. For many decades Graham rubbed shoulders with famous people around the world and it was normal for Presidents to confer with him.

Nuesch said Graham was a humble man who was never impressed with the famous and often powerful people with whom he dealt. The author said, "He felt God was so far ahead of any human that he was not really concerned about impressing people."

This book published by Baker Publishing gives a clear picture of Ruth's contribultion to Billy Graham's successes which made him a household name around the globe for decades. Born on the East Coast of China in 1920, she was the daughter of an American missionary doctor during a bloody civil war.

Missionaries were called "foreign devils" and many were martyred. As a child Ruth would kneel beside her bed and pray, "Lord, let me die as a martyr for you."

Sent off to school at Pyongyang, the current capital of North Korea, she overcame her loneliness by trusting in Jesus.

Her future husband was born in 1918 in Charlotte, N.C., the son of a dairy farmer. His interests were girls, baseball and world history during his youth. He was disillusioned when he went off to Bible school. He left the Bible college because he felt it was "too rigid and authoritarian. He was told by a school official upon his departure that 'at most he would be a poor Baptist preacher in the sticks."'

Determined to be a soul winner even if he couldn't become a famous preacher, he trekked to a second Bible college in Tampa, Florida. One day as he was walking across the golf course there he fell to his knees on the 18th green and prayed to God, asking that he be used in the Lord's service. He told Gold he was turning his life over to him.

Ruth and Billy met at Wheaton College and were married in 1943.

After their first date to attend Handel's Messiah, she wrote in her diary it would be "her greatest privilege to spend her life at his side."

After hearing him pray she wrote, "This man knows who he's talking to."

Franklin Graham is their son.

For more details on their incredible relationship which spanned the years until her death in 2007, readers should read this fascinating book. It is an excellent book that believers and non-believers alike will find interesting.

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