The Voice That Shaped My Faith

A Tribute to Ravi Zacharias

The day in which a blessing or tragedy will come your way usually starts like any ordinary day. There is nothing eventful about such days. You go about your daily routines as usual. On this faithful day, we were set to have our Executives' Prayer meeting later in the evening. I don't remember anything about that very day except maybe dragging myself to the Lecture Hall to receive some knowledge which will hopefully make me valuable in my career path.

We had an awesome time of prayer as executives of the Ghana Methodist Students' Union Choir, KNUST. Nana Kofi, the chaplain, took us through a long journey of exaltations which ended up being difficult to receive because I was just tired and wanted to be done with the prayer session and go back to my hostel. We were having this prayer meeting at the opening in front of the Paa Joe stadium which had been designated as the prayer arena on campus. Among the many things the Chaplain said, he mentioned one minister called Ravi Zacharias and talked about how he debates atheists who posed seemingly difficult questions to the Christian faith. The only thing I remember receiving from the lengthy talk was the name, Ravi Zacharias. The first thing I did when I returned was to look him up on google and the rest, they say, is history.

I started consuming every message I came across that was preached by Ravi Zacharias and the team at RZIM. My first introduction to the philosophical arguments in favour of the Christian Faith by Ravi Zacharias sounded like a melodious tune to my ears howbeit in a foreign language. I loved the things he shared but my understanding couldn't make my joy complete. I had to keep pausing the message several times while listening to look up words in the dictionary or even google some of the terminologies, poetry, quotes and names he used. An example is when he used the term Ontic Referent in one of the messages. It took a long time for me to figure out the actual spelling of the word because his pronunciation often made it difficult for me to get the words correctly let alone understand these complex terms he used.

"WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN" was the title of one of the messages. Before I listened, I thought to myself; how on earth do we have to even to define what it meant to be a human? Isn't that self-evident and obvious? My understanding of different perspectives about the realities of life begun to develop at that point. Back then I thought some things were simply non-debatable but it appeared there were a lot of grey areas in life.

He always emphasized his ministry being "Evangelism undergirded by Apologetics". I found Apologetics quite repulsive initially because I thought it was all about debates and argument. Ravi made me love Apologetics the more. He will often say that people need answers but not questions. He adds that the human condition is not a moral problem but a spiritual one. "Jesus Christ didn't come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live". Apologetics helps to remove all the smoke screens so the gospel of our salvation can be shared with others.

Through his ministry, I have gained a better understanding of the human condition. I have gained much clarity and understanding of the Death and Ressurection of Jesus Christ being the centre of our Christian convictions. He has also taught me how to think. He understood very well that it was the Holy Spirit who draws people to God and not merely exercising intellectual and philosophical prowess against opposing worldviews.

Ravi's testimony is that of a hopeless child who wanted to end his life because there was nothing worth living for. He was saved on the bed of suicide when he heard, "because I live, ye shall live also" read to him by his mum from a bible presented by a man at the hospital.

I've often wondered what the story would have been if the man for some reason didn't present the bible and ask that the scripture be read to a young boy who was on the brink of death due to attempted suicide. "I sit down sometimes and watch you on YouTube, and the tears run down my face and I think to myself the main reason God brought me into this world was to bring that Bible to you" is what the man, Fred David, told Ravi Zacharias in a conversation some days before he died. [source: https://chvnradio.com/christian-news/the-man-who-led-ravi-zacharias-to-jesus]

I might be stretching this too wide but I see a parallel in Ravi Zacharias' faith journey and how I got to know about the ministry that has shaped my faith. Nana Kofi wouldn't even imagine how God chose his exaltation to introduce me to a ministry that was going to shape my life and draw me closer to realizing the path God would have me tread in life.

In one of Ravi Zacharias' sermon, he stresses the value God places on an individual, therefore, one has to be grateful for that and function in whatever setting he finds himself to the Glory of God. Through his testimony, I'm encouraged to always seize every opportunity for God's glory because it is not about how great a deed is, but rather the God who in His wisdom chooses to use our efforts to draw men unto himself. "God buries His workmen but carries on His work", and by His grace, we will also pay heed to our calling and fulfil it to the latter. You are one of the people I can't wait to meet when I exit my body. RIP Ravi Zacharias.