Right before school was closed in March and we all had to go into isolation, we were privileged to host the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) team at ICSV for the Secondary Spiritual Emphasis Week. On Friday, March 6, we partnered with the Vienna Christian Center for an evening event called Reboot! RZIM is a global team of speakers that challenges its listeners with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a May 20 blog, John Stonestreet of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview described their ministry this way: “Christian faith can take the shots of skeptics, cynics, and cultural forces and still emerge as true and beautiful and good.”
Why am I talking about this today? Because Ravi Zacharias just passed away. He found out in March that he had untreatable cancer, and within two months, he was gone. When I heard this news, I decided to find out the story of his life. I did not realize that Zacharias was a skeptical 17-year-old when he heard the words of Jesus from John 14:19, “Because I live, you also will live.” You see, he grew up in a family where it was expected for the children to all be outstanding scholars. Zacharias did not do well in school, but instead enjoyed sports. When he was 17, he made the decision that he was such an embarrassment to his family that it would be better if he killed himself, which he tried to do. He took poison, but was found and taken to the hospital, where a local Christian worker brought him a Bible. This Christian told Zacharias’s mother to read to him the book of John, which contains this verse.
Zacharias explained that what turned his life around was that he could now look “at life through a window of meaning. And that was the one thing [he] had been desperately longing for: meaning.” Zacharias went forward to become one of the world’s leading apologists and evangelists. Alistair McGrath describes his ministry this way: “Zacharias’s approach was to demonstrate that Christianity makes rational sense on the one hand, and is able to offer deeply satisfying existential answers to life’s grand questions on the other.”
In a world where absolute truth is not accepted and where everything is viewed as relative, Christianity offers a faith that provides us with meaning in life and answers to our deepest questions. John Stonestreet stated that it was through Zacharias’s ministry when he was in college, that he “came to realize that Christianity wasn’t just something you did, and it wasn’t even just something you felt. Even more (though certainly not less) than a personal relationship with Christ [he] was realizing that the Christian faith was, in fact, true. From Ravi, [he] began to understand the extent to which you could not only think about faith, but actually think with faith.”
It is my prayer that just like Zacharias and Stonestreet, we will think more and more with our faith. Truly, what we believe should affect how we live!
Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, EdD