Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 5/19/2020
Dear Ravi Zacharias,
Today you crossed from the shadows of the here and now on Earth to the light of the latter end of your eternity. As you have seen from a brand new perspective, many are sharing how they knew and remember you. Whether that be personal interactions or published works like books, radio, speaking engagements, or even YouTube. For me, I knew you from a selection of published works you released over the years.
It all began with my Dad reading to me sections of your book, The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, when I was in elementary school. He did so because my interest in these sorts of questions began to riddle my mind. Jump forward a bit to when I was entering high school and my life began to take more shape as I slowly was discovering what I was meant to do with my life.
It was within a period of time where I was regularly babysitting 3 kids after school at night, so that my friend Ben could go to a singles ministry once a week and have a night off. As a single dad, Ben was raising his kids essentially by himself. Taking care of his kids was just something that multiple people in the church would do to help him, so that he could have a break from time-to-time.
Anyways, on one of those nights when he returned from being out of the house, we talked first about how the movie was and then the conversation shifted to my developing interest in apologetics. If I remember correctly, he was watching Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in theaters with a friend. Either way he came back and I asked about the movie, which if you know Ben then questions always will lead to lengthy conversations.
So during that hours-long late night conversation, he interrupted my ambitions about apologetics with a strong suggestion. If I really wanted to pursue apologetics and be that leader in my high school, then I needed to read this book that he read years ago. He got up and immediately went to his bookshelf in his room to find it before coming back downstairs. The book he gave me was Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias.
One last story and this one was during my college days at the Colorado Film School. Within this period of my life in 2016, I was wrestling with purpose once again. I was quickly realizing that I didn’t feel called to be in the film industry as a director/writer anymore, yet was unsure of myself because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do next.
But God was directing my steps because there was another huge change happening in my life, which was this slow burn call to find a new church home and with that came a long period of investigating different aspects of church like denominations or where churches stood on certain issues. In addition to that, a few peers from school were asking me more complex questions about existence and God.
So in response to these changes in my life and trying to navigate the grey, I began some extensive research for both situations. In all honesty, I have never read so many books or done so much research ever in my life. Of the many resources I poured over for answers, one of those critical books was Why Suffering? by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale.
Not only did these three books deeply impact me during three unique phases in my life, but your lectures and interviews as well. The amount of time I spent studying your work throughout all these years and applying it to both my own situation and eventually to help others has been immense to say the least.
With that said, none of those published works compare to what I’ve appreciated the most about your life. In fact, the reason I and millions of other people have admired you all these years was because of the genuine care you had for the person engaging in ideas with you. The compassion that was evident when you would hear a person’s inquires and walk with them to what always appeared to be an inevitable conclusion. In the same respect, you seemed to arrive to said answer in a way that felt respectful of the person standing before you as an imager of God.
Thank you not just for the knowledge I acquired in my head learning from your material, but most importantly the heart that you had after God. Thank you for helping the thinker believe and the believer think. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.
- RZIM at Passion City Church (June 26th, 2017)