Franklin Graham: Excerpts from Rebel with a Cause
Big Footprints to Fill
If I had understood the messages people were sending me on the day I was born, I might just have crawled right back in where I'd come from and taken a rain check!
"Welcome to this sin-sick world and the challenge you have to walk in your daddy's footsteps," read one Western Union telegram.
I had no idea what I was getting into! People all over the world admired Billy Graham as a spiritual leader. I suppose it only seemed natural to them that his firstborn son would eventually plant his tiny feet in those large footprints.
Mama’s Unorthodox Discipline
pages 12 – 13
"If you don't stop right now," Mama said, "I'm going to pull over and lock you up in the trunk." But I was one of those hardheaded kids who didn't respond to such simple threats. I started pinching them again.
"That's enough!" Mama pulled off to the side of the road and stopped the car. Before I knew what was happening, she opened the back door, grabbed me with both hands, jerked me around back, opened the trunk, put me inside, and slammed the lid shut. I wasn't expecting Mama to drive all the way to Asheville before letting me out, but she drove on and on.
When we arrived at the drive-in, Mama came around to the back of the car and opened the trunk to get my order. "What do you want to eat?"
"Cheeseburger without the meat, french fries, and a Coke." She slammed the trunk again and climbed back in the car and placed the order. The waitress was shocked when she saw Mama open the trunk and hand me my food.
Sneaking Smokes at Boarding School
In my sophomore year I managed to get a room by myself on the third floor of Hegeman Hall, directly above the school's kitchen. It was so small that there was room for only one bed.
The room had an added benefit that fit my needs perfectly. I discovered I could climb through my window onto a narrow side roof. There, behind a large chimney, I could smoke all I wanted without anyone seeing me.
It wasn't long before some of my fellow smokers discovered my hideaway. They sneaked up to my room one at a time and crawled through the window. I wondered if someone would observe this unusual stream of guests and snitch to the faculty, but I wasn't too bothered. I got a kick out of staying one step ahead of the "law."
Without realizing it, I was slowly becoming more and more rebellious. Deep down I really resented having to go to school away from home. Breaking rules like "No smoking" was a way to show some of my feelings.
Kicked Out of Christian College
I walked into the dean's office and saw a deep scowl on his face. "We cannot allow this kind of behavior, Franklin," he said after I sat down. "This is a Christian school. You've gone over the brink—living on the edge has finally caught up with you. It doesn't matter who you are. There are no more warnings."
I knew what was coming. "You'll have to leave school, Franklin." "I have already notified your parents," he said somberly. What gave him that right? Shouldn't I have the prerogative to tell my parents? But I held my tongue. I didn't think anything I would say would get me out of this mess. Was I finally getting what I deserved? Probably so.
I accepted my disgrace and packed up. Yet as I prepared to leave LeTourneau, anger swelled up inside. I felt betrayed that the dean had talked to my parents behind my back. In just two more weeks I would have finished the semester; now all my hard work was down the drain.
pages 197 – 198
I dove down a little corridor and knelt under the steps with Sami (Dagher) a split second before another shell hit. Concrete and steel crashed to the ground. I was sure the next shell would land where he hid. This wasn't just an adventure anymore. Fear clutched at my gut as I thought of what it would feel like to be buried under tons of concrete and steel...As we crouched under those steps, Sami...asked, "Brother, do you think you are in God's will?" With those shells dropping almost in our laps, I wondered for a moment—but only for a moment. No question: I was right where God wanted me to be.
Gen. Schwarzkopf Reacts to Our "Operation Desert Save"
pages 240 – 241
When General Schwarzkopf wrote his autobiography, It Doesn't Take a Hero, ours was the only spiritual work he mentioned.
The Saudi concern about religious pollution seemed overblown to me but understandable, and on a few occasions I agreed they really did have a gripe. There was a fundamentalist Christian group in North Carolina called Samaritan's Purse that had the bright idea of sending unsolicited copies of the New Testament in Arabic to our troops. A little note with each book read: "Enclosed is a copy of the New Testament..."
One day Khalid [commander of the kingdom's air-defense forces] handed me a copy. "What is this all about?" he asked mildly. This time he didn't need to protest—he knew how dismayed I'd be.
Treating Rape Victims in Bosnia
pages 276 – 278
He asked me, "Mr. Graham, may I show you a videotape?" Another shell exploded—boom! My heart pounded. But the minister didn't budge. "You see, Mr. Graham, we captured some enemy soldiers and found this videotape in their possession. They had taped themselves raping a nine-year-old girl. Would you like to see the tape?"
"No, sir," I said, thinking, I'd like to be able to sleep tonight. The minister was not finished. He went on, "They brought the girl's father into the room and told him to rape his own daughter. He refused. So they put a gun into his mouth and blew his brains out the back of his head in front of his daughter."
"Then they brought her older brother into the room. They told him to rape his sister. The boy saw his dead father and probably thought the only way to save his life was to obey them. So he did. Afterwards, they blew out his brains. Then they laughed. Mr. Graham, it's all right here on this videotape."
Now my blood was boiling. The shelling outside became secondary. [I said] "We're not going to come to this part of the world and hear about these kinds of things and not do something about them. We know that scores of girls have been raped and have no place to go."
"We need a home for these girls. And we need it over here, in this country. Let's find those girls. Let's rent a house and start taking care of them."
When we struggled to find a way into Rwanda in the spring of 1994, I never thought that we would be approached by the newly formed Rwandan government to take over their Central Hospital of Kigali (CHK) and help reopen it. But that's exactly what happened.
This became a major undertaking. The hospital had been used as an execution ground, and many people had died in that place. The former government, in a hurry to bury bodies, dug a mass grave on the hospital compound. We discovered it when we found that the land surrounding the septic tank was filled with corpses from the slaughter that had taken place. We suspected the mass burial spot contained well over eight thousand bodies.
It took weeks to remove the blood stains from the hospital walls and pick up the body parts that were strewn about. Slowly we began to open one ward and then another. In a short time the building once again became a place of healing and life rather than destruction and death.
Franklin Graham, Rebel with a Cause (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1995)