HOUSTON (FOX 26) - So many people have been hit hard by Billy Graham’s passing. One Houston pastor in particular is sad at the loss of Graham. Perhaps without Pastor Billy Graham, we wouldn’t have the Dr. Ed Young we know today.
Young, who leads one of Houston’s largest congregations, was Graham’s good friend and he isn't burdened by his death but rather celebrating his amazing life.
“He couldn’t tell a joke," recounts Dr. Ed Young with a smile. "He tried to. He’d give the punchline first.” Young is the pastor of Second Baptist Church.
Young and Reverend Billy Graham were longtime friends and Graham was a mentor to Young.
“In my early preaching, I would imitate him," says Young. "He would say, ‘The Bible says,’ and so I would say, ’The Bible says.’ I started off at a young age looking up to him as sort of the model not only for preaching but how he lived his life.”
Young shows FOX 26 News a picture of him along with singer Johnny Cash, President George H. W. Bush and Graham from the early 1980s.
“He lived his life in genuine humility, though he knew Presidents, prime ministers, kings," describes Young, who recalls questioning Graham about standing by and even spending the night at The White House with disgraced President Richard Nixon and Young says he ultimately learned a valuable lesson.
“When we’re on top, everybody likes us -- you’re great and fine," adds Young. "When the bottom falls out, that’s when we as Christians need to be there.”
“89.3 KSBJ, it’s Rachelle and Carder on this bittersweet day,” announced KSBJ morning radio show host Carder Price on Wednesday. As news of Graham's passing spread, people in the Houston area flooded phone lines at 89.3 KSBJ.
“Even after this man died, he’s still going to change people's lives,” said one woman.
“We’ve had some amazing calls this morning and I don’t think anyone of them were sad," says KSBJ morning radio show host Rachelle Carrillo. "I think every one of them was touched in some way”
“Different stories but similar," adds Price. "People telling us, 'Well, I saw him here,' 'I remember this message that he shared here,' 'He was just so real.' Although Graham was 99 and death is sort of expected at that age, but I think his message to others would be to be ready each and every day and to know that even if you tragically die young, if you have a relationship with Jesus something better is waiting for you.”
“My daddy was a preacher and when I was a little girl, he really wanted me to know that name," adds Carrillo. "The older I grew, the more I realized why. Because Billy’s integrity preceded him wherever he went.”
“He represented Christ wherever he went,” explains Young, who remembers his friend selling the dairy farm where he was raised and earning lots of money.
“It scared him to death," says Young. "He said, 'I can’t be rich.'” He says Graham gave all the money away except for enough to pay for college for his grandchildren.
Young also says Graham's walk with Christ was constant and contagious “and God was with him all the way home.”
The Reverend Billy Graham was 99 years old.