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Christopher Columbus  (1451-1506)

     October 9, 1492, was far too calm in the southern Atlantic. Columbus and his three ships were virtually stalled. They were 2000 miles west into the great ocean, twice as far as anyone had ever sailed before. All 90 men in the fleet now wondered if they could ever sail back to Spain with the provisions they had. Most had given up on ever finding land, let alone China. They had seen birds and seemed to smell land - "the air is as fragrant as in April in Seville", insisted Columbus - but the calm triggered despair. Emissaries from the
Nina and Pinta boarded the Santa Maria. Turn back now, they urged Columbus. The request was reasonable. Columbus deliberated. The greatest miracle in the history of mankind occurred in just three days. Couldn't he ask God for a small miracle in three days?
     His request for three more days was accepted. But his troubles were not over. Even though flocks of birds were heard overhead all night - the next day brought a new panic. The wind had kicked up, scudding them west at 10 miles an hour. To the crew that meant it would be even harder to get back to Spain. They whispered mutiny. Columbus could have pointed out that getting back to Spain in that manner would only get them the hangman's noose. But he called them together and asked for two more days. They knew nothing of his compromise with the other two ships. The crew celebrated their victory.
     October 11 the ships continued to race west. In spite of rolling seas the voyagers found a flower! Then they retrieved a carved stick. That night a new worry swept the fleet. Would they be driven into land in the night? All would be lost. Many eyes stared west that night. Visibility was good with a full moon lighting the sea. But worries remained. At two hours after midnight on October 12 a cannon fired. The
Pinta approached the Santa Maria in the night.
     "Sir, you have spotted land!" cried Columbus.
     Within hours all 90 men gazed on the distant white shore. To Columbus it was his savior, risen from the sea, after three days. Columbus named the land 'San Salvador', for his Savior.

Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison, 1942]

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Frederick the Wise (1463-1525)

The anecdote for Frederick the Wise is available HERE.

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Columbus agreed to turn back to Spain if land was not seen in the next three days !

Billy Graham (1918-alive)

     Often Billy had black moments before golden moments. One of the first was worrying over his first altar call in 1938. All day Billy gnawed his fingernails, sick with worry. He prayed all afternoon for God's help. He was going to preach at a store-front church in Venice, 60 miles south of Tampa. 
     His mood was so black he told himself, "I'll have to quit preaching if I fail. If I can't bring folks to Christ I'm just making a lot of noise."
     That night 100 people sat in chairs to listen to him preach. Heart pounding, he began. As he preached his courage returned. He really felt as if the Holy Spirit was helping him. Arms flailing and words exploding like gunfire he delivered the Gospel. But at the end of his sermon, when Billy invited them down to the altar to accept Christ, his mouth was as dry as sand. 
     "Now, friends, please come forward if you want your life to change tonight. Accept Christ as your Savior..."
     He stood, hands clasped, eyes down, sweating as he waited. Surely at least one would come. Oh please, God, just one. All he wanted was one. He waited.  What if no one came?
     Slowly a man stood. Billy tried not to stare. Was the man coming to the altar? Or was he simply leaving the church? The man hesitated. Sin and desperation were so hard to acknowledge publicly. The man slowly turned to the altar. Yes! He was coming forward. Praise the Lord!
Another stood up. Could it be true that she was coming to Christ too? Or was she leaving? She came forward. Oh, yes. Praise the Lord.
     Then another. 
     And another. 
     Soon they were rising and coming forward so fast Billy could no longer count. He wanted to weep. He wasn't worthy of this. 'Oh, rebuke me, God,' he prayed. This was not due to Billy's sermon. This was not due to his personal charm. God forgive him for thinking that. Sinners came to Christ because the Holy Spirit was working through Billy. Somehow God had blessed him, Billy Frank Graham, with power of the Holy Spirit! 
     "Thirty-two came to the altar," said one of the local churchmen later. "In all my years I never saw that many come to the altar in one meeting…"

Billy Graham: The Authorized Biography by John Pollock, 1966, A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story by William Martin, 1991]

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All day Billy Graham gnawed his fingernails. At long last he would know if he had the "calling".




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