The faith of the man who was arguably the greatest apologist of our time was born in a moment of hopelessness and helplessness following a suicide attempt at age 17. Against the dissonance of angst, the sweet chord of Jesus’ Words in scripture rang out clearly to comfort his aching heart…”Because I live, you also will live.” Right there, he committed his life to Christ, and oh, did Ravi live!
He lived as an ambassador of Christ, traveling to 70 countries defending biblical truth that others might come to know Jesus. He lived as a bridge between the intellectual and the spiritual. Before age 40, Ravi founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and spent his remaining years passionately pursuing its mission to “help the thinker believe and the believer think.” Ravi lived as the voice of one calling in our modern spiritual wilderness through his weekly radio program, “Let My People Think.” The voice must have struck a chord as it’s been heard on more than 2,000 stations in 32 countries, as well as downloaded over 15 million times as a podcast in the last year alone. Ravi Zacharias lived faithful to his promise made on that post-suicide hospital bed to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth. He did pursue truth and then passionately parceled it out in the context of the varied cultures in which he spoke.
Personally, I heard Ravi speak several years ago at an apologetics conference. His words were filled with zeal for the truth, love for the Lord and compassion for the questioner – hallmarks of his life and ministry. I left the conference with a new understanding of the culture, a fresh perspective of faith and a book he wrote that would carry me through a season of struggling to find my own hope – “Why Suffering.” One of several “aha moments” for me in that book was reading that God may allow me to walk through certain suffering because it is the only way He can mold me into the exact person He planned for me to become. The idea that God had a good plan for my life was not new to me. The idea that I was not born naturally prepared to live that good life, but that I had to become a certain person in order to live that life was a radical thought. The idea that the suffering I was walking through then was the best way to change me was, itself, a transforming thought. I have clung to that strand of truth throughout this journey, thankful for Ravi’s eye-opening perspective on suffering and its purpose.
Ravi knew a thing or two about suffering, from the tumultuous teen years that caused him to give up all hope for a time to preaching and speaking in places where he “slept” amidst sounds of gunfire. In his last days, Ravi endured the symptoms and treatments of cancer. Yet he was still living, still sharing truth with his nurses and still pointing conversations to Christ until he no longer had breath to speak. Between his conversion and his cancer, Ravi Zacharias lived well, indeed. He spoke and wrote deep truth that will echo in the hearts and minds of millions, across countries and generations. He lived a courageous life pursuing truth. He left a rich legacy of faith. He finished well, a good and faithful servant. #ThankyouRavi