Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Good Night Ravi-Ji

I came in contact with Ravi Zacharias’ work when I was doing a research on a topic to share here at Evergreen Word of Life. As God would have it, I was also going through a crisis in my personal life. I had so many questions to ask but could not find anybody to ask. When I began to listen to Ravi’s messages, like a candle wax before a burning flame, all the questions began to melt away.

Something else happened. All the while, I knew that God did not call me to enter the normal mold of the Christian ministries around me. I knew that God called me into teaching and writing and to be a Christian apologist but I didn’t know what it all entailed. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries helped to open my eyes and sharpen this ministry which I am doing today. I attended the Core Module Course about a year ago which God used to further shape what He is doing in my life.

Ravi was an epitome of knowledge. He had a good command of the English language and vocabularies. I learnt several names of scholars from him from different areas of study – humanity, philosophy, anthropology, theology etc. I began to study names like C.S Lewis, Malcom Muggeridge, G.K Chesterton etc because of how he quoted from them. He was a scholar that had respect for other scholars even when he disagreed with them. Most of his works in my study include: The Logic of God, The Grand Weaver, Can man live without God and Nabeel’s book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. I can’t explain how he could quote from hymns, poems and excerpts from several works from memory even at old age, apart from the enormous grace that was upon him. The Poem by the Elementary School Teacher made great impact on me:

He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done.
“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I’ve spoiled this one.”
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted
and gave him a new one all unspotted.
And into his tired heart I cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

I went/came to the throne with a trembling heart;
the day was done.
“Have you a new day for me, dear Master?
I’ve spoiled this one.”
He took my day, all soiled and blotted
and gave me a new one all unspotted.
And into my tired heart he cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

He taught me not to be afraid to reason and to question. From him I learnt the reasonableness of the faith that we profess and how to be bold to defend it before anybody no matter how hostile they may be with all gentleness and respect. I learnt that self-protectionism is counter-productive to Christianity. When the Christian teaching is brought out in the court of ideas, it gives adequate answers to life’s problems in a way no other worldview can.

Ravi Zacharias was a Christian evangelist with passion for souls. Like Billy Graham, he presented the Gospel of God’s love in a very simple and uncomplicated manner. He was consistent. His burden for young people who are inundated with atheistic beliefs made him to start the Refresh Program which focuses on those entering College. He continually emphasized on the virtue of humility as the vehicle upon which apologetics moves. Each time he quoted 1 Peter 3:15-16, he would emphasize on the first part of verse 15 and verse 16 which deals with our heart and our attitude. “In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” ESV. He said that the world does not just want the Gospel that is heard, but the Gospel that is seen, because oftentimes, our lives speak louder than our words.

Ravi, I am grateful that God brought me in contact with you and your ministry. Thank you for the things you taught us during your lifetime. You are the inspiration behind the upcoming ministry area we are launching soon, Christian Apologetics: Difficult Questions, Adequate Answers.  We cannot but continue to do our part and to finish well as you have done. I conclude this piece with a few stanzas from Richard Baxter’s hymn which the daughter Sarah, said Ravi recited in January 4, 2020:

“Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?

Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.”

Good night Ravi-Ji.

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