SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Lord."
Those were the words of Dr. David Bruce, and were among the first words spoken during the funeral service for Reverend Billy Graham.
The Lord did give the world something special in the person of Billy Graham. I've seen his crusades on TV for as long as I can remember, and attended the crusade in Charlotte in 1996.
Here's the thing: Billy Graham and I work for the same boss. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I can testify to what's that's meant in my life over the years.
Covering this funeral is one of the highlights of my career. It's the happiest funeral I've ever seen, and that's because of the hope that is found in my faith.
Among the many images I saw today was TV host Kathie Lee Gifford walking through the media area. She was talking to a reporter and trying to explain "it's not about religion, it's about a relationship."
That's the crux of the message that Billy Graham delivered. He didn't encourage people to become Baptists or Catholics or Lutherans, he encouraged them to seek that personal relationship with the son of God.
The message of Billy Graham resonated across so many boundaries, and his integrity, character, and humility were admired by many who weren't of the Christian faith.
He wasn't perfect, and he would be the first one to admit that. I'm not either, and I'm usually the first to make that admission.
At the close of the service Franklin Graham described what it must have been like when Billy Graham first stepped into Heaven. He said that there would have been clapping, cheering, trumpets blaring, etc. Then he said that such a welcome wasn't given because of Billy Graham was on earth, but simply because he was a "child of God who was coming home."
God used a imperfect man to spread a perfect message, and my hope is that I can be used in the same way. Blessed be the Lord.