I “attended” Ravi Zecharias’ memorial service online, a man I had never met, but he is my brother in Christ, a father of the faith, and a friend of God. Anyone who is a friend of God is my friend; my best friend is Jesus, and as Jenny in Forrest Gump asked why he was so good to her when she was so bad to him, Forrest said in his child-like innocence, that Jenny was” his very good best friend”. Jesus is my best friend and I was not always so good to him, ignoring him and even rejecting him when I did not know him but only knew religion. I could spend a thousand years telling God how sorry I am, but that is not what God calls us to do. Our Eternal loving Abba Father forgives us AND forgets all of our mistakes, sins and falling short of the glory. God kindly and gently and compassionately loves and guides us into being the person he created us to be; NEVER bringing up the past that is the enemy of our soul’s MO and voice. We need to reject the accuser of the brethren’s voice, and listen only to the True Shepherd’s Voice.
I would encourage all of you to watch the memorial service video when it is made available; I was touched deeply, and the presence of God was present and palpable. The music was wonderful and surprising, beginning with A Mighty Fortress is our God, “God’s Truth abideth still, His Kingdom forever!” and ending with Lecrae’s Tell the World. My favorite was the joyful rendition of In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Steward Townsend; a few of the words that stood out: “cornerstone, solid ground, strivings cease; my Comforter, my all in all, here in the Light of Christ I stand; as He stands in Victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; I am bought with the precious Blood of Christ; no guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the Power of Christ in me; No one can pluck me from His Hand, here in the power of Christ I stand; I find my strength, hope, help in Christ Alone; I find my Peace in Christ Alone; I give my life, I give my all; I sing my song to Christ Alone, the King of kings and Lord of all; all heaven sings to Christ Alone!”
One of my favorite psalms was read, Psalm 37: fret not, trust in the Lord, take delight in the Lord, commit your way to the Lord, be still and do not fret; those who do evil are destroyed, those in Christ inherit the land. One of my favorite psalms was sung by Shane & Shane, the 23rd Psalm, Surely Goodness Surely Mercy. Vice President Pence quoted, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted” and “because I live, you will live also” and said Ravi spoke words of wisdom, kindness and encouragement to him at a time our Vice President needed it most. Someone said Ravi met with kings, and could make a taxi cab driver feel like a king!
Ravi was saved because of a suicide attempt at 17 in India, putting him in a hospital, and given a bible. I love that Ravi taught that behind every sincere question is a broken, hurting person, and instead of taking written questions, he wanted to see the person ask the question; the importance of the person behind the question. Ravi knew the kindness of God was not in giving them an ethical system, but true TRANSFORMATION. God is Able to take the most broken, hurting, hopeless, helpless individual and give them His resurrection Life as their new life and breath and blood and Spirit and new flesh that inherits the kingdom of God and his righteousness. With men it is IMPOSSIBLE, but with God ALL things are possible! True Hope is not wishful thinking, not how the world defines hope, but Living Hope is substance, assurance and a GUARANTEE of the fulfilled promises of the Father! The Holy Spirit gives us an appetite for the Word instead of things of the world; making us hungry and thirsty for righteousness, so we may be SATISFIED wholly and completely and perfectly (another word that the world misdefines; God defines perfect as “lacking nothing” and we are only made whole, complete holy and perfect IN Christ and Christ in you, lacking nothing!)
One of Ravi’s last words were, “don’t ever quit” and some impactful life words were “don’t give up because it is hard, but when it is hard, do it anyway” and “do things for people who can’t do anything for you” and “if you have Jesus and know The Shepherd, you have it ALL and he will never leave you” “every morning say, ‘thank you Lord’ ” “Truth is a Person” “answer honest questions with courtesy” and quoting DL Moody, as Billy Graham would quote him, “Some day you will hear I am dead, but I shall be more alive than I am now; death can’t touch, sin can’t taint when I am healed, home and free!” and “Because he lives, I live”.
Ravi believed every one had a distinct invitation to God from Jesus, and that ALL could have a transformation. He knew there were Thomas’ who needed to see, touch and feel to believe; he had myriads of stories of invitation and powerful transformations of those who accepted the invitation of Jesus. A truly touching, tear-inducing word was about the hands of a murderer in Angola prison, transformed by Jesus through Ravi’s visiting the prison, laid those transformed hands on Ravi’s hand-made coffin at the prison, praying over it before sending it to Georgia to house Ravi’s vacated body.
Ravi relayed to every person, no matter what they had done, that they mattered to God and that their life could CHANGE in a moment and become a light in this world for others, becoming a friend of God too. Ravi wasn’t interested in how amazing his answers were to the most difficult question, but how many put their faith and trust in Jesus at the meeting. Lecrae said, “tonight the man with all the answers is now getting all his questions answered by God”
Listening to videos of Ravi, I saw how gentle, kind, respectful and compassionate he was to all, for he knew behind every question is a questioner whose questions come from their life experience in this fallen, broken world, coming from a set of assumptions and beliefs from either not knowing God or only knowing ABOUT God. EVERY human being needs to know God loves them, individually and personally, no matter where life has taken them. No matter how far “gone,” Jesus can go lower, meeting each right where they are, not leaving them there, but lifting them up by giving them the power to transform into the person God created them to be; the work of the Holy Spirit Wisdom and Power. “O how I love Jesus, because he first loved me!”
Ravi was the greatest Christian apologist of this century; but he pointed everyone to Jesus, not himself. I am convinced Ravi does not want to become an idol, but his life and preaching and teaching to continue to turn people from their questions to KNOW God and His Christ.
Thank you Ravi, for your life, message, ministry and love of God!