You may call me impertinent, but I was never able to call him “Dr. Maxwell.” It seemed too impersonal. I was a teenager when a church member first gifted me with a copy of “Servants or Friends?” and it nourished my spiritual imagination at a most formative time in my youth. I became something of a “Maxwell junky” almost right away. If asked, my mother could tell you of the hours I spent puttering alone downstairs, Pine Knoll tapes booming from my bedroom. They spoke of a God I could trust, a Father who was just as gentle as Jesus.
I will never forget the day I met Graham for the first time. I had driven to Southern Oregon on my sixteenth birthday with a couple from my church to hear him speak, and I practically flew out of the car when we reached the parking lot. I speed-walked to the venue and did a panoramic sweep of the building until I spotted Graham chatting in the back. You must understand that I was a naturally uninhibited teenager, so I wasn’t acting entirely out of character when I walked straight up to him, introduced myself, thanked him profusely for his ministry, and asked if I could give him a hug. He chuckled and obliged, eyes twinkling with amused kindness.
During the next few years, I had the opportunity to visit the Kirks in Loma Linda, the dear family who ran Graham’s tape ministry. Cherie was the most gracious of hosts, and I came to treasure and admire her deeply. I was able to meet Graham again on several more occasions during Sabbath School get-togethers and recording sessions at the Kirks’, and each conversation left me more impressed with his knowledge and warmth. In retrospect, I can say that what impresses me even more now is the sincere wisdom and respect with which he listened to me, an overly zealous teenager who obviously idolized him.
Truth be told, I haven’t been in touch with my dusty tapes as much in recent years, but that’s not because the old message isn’t still precious to me. Over the last decade I have become much more interested in Graham’s Friend for myself, the One he always spoke so well of. I think that’s the way Graham would’ve wanted it to be.
Today we invite you to share some of your own thoughts and memories in the space below. Let us grieve and give thanks for the gift of Graham Maxwell, a friend of God.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2803