In Peggy Noonan’s book When Character Was King, she tells about a meeting between President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia. It was their first meeting as world leaders and Bush wanted to be sure they connected — that they looked for depth of soul and character, not simply had a political meeting.

Bush brought up a story he had read about Putin. His mother had given him a Christian cross that Putin had had blessed while in Jerusalem. Bush had been touched by the story. Putin told a story in response. He had taken to wearing the cross, and one day had set it down in a house he had been visiting. Strangely, the house had burned down, and all Putin could think about was that his cross was lost in the rubble. He motioned for a worker to come to him, so he could ask him to look for the cross. The worker walked over to Putin, stretched out his hand, and showed him the already recovered cross.

Putin told Bush, “It was as if something meant for me to have the cross,” inferring that he believed in a higher power. Bush said, “Mr. Putin, President Putin, that’s what it’s all about — that’s the story of the cross.” The story of the cross is that God intended it just for you. (


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