Ravi Zacharias | 1946 -2020

“The death of a beloved is an amputation.” 

       – C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Contemplating a world without Ravi Zacharias brings on a terrible sadness. As someone whose craft is words of eternal meaning, in a shadowy moment like this, language seems too blunt a tool to bare my heart.

The Apostle Paul once wrote of a church devoid of spiritual fathers. When I first came to Christ through a sea of big questions, it was Ravi’s voice, via print and podcast, that helped me make sense of my doubts through God’s story. Blending a rare wisdom with deep wells of compassion, Ravi, you became as a spiritual father to me. 

Disenchantment might be the defining characteristic of my generation. So many once mighty heroes we looked up to have fallen prey to sin or hidden suffering. Against this tide, though, you have been a tremendous encouragement. What blew me away when I met you in Oxford was that the private man behind the public persona was, if anything, more like Jesus. There is a sparkle to your eye and a gentle joy in your demeanor that I cannot help but think is the treasure of God’s presence on display.

You taught me to see people. Not questions. Not opponents. Not atheists. Only people. Prodigal sons and daughters whose distance from their Heavenly Father breaks His heart. And you taught me to beckon that they heed His loving voice and come home. Serving 6 years on your team was one of the greatest honours of my life. I only wish we had many more. 

Once you lay on a bed of suicide as a young man, and the words of Jesus opened your eyes, “Because I live, you also shall live” (John 14:19). Now, having lived on this earth full of years, you were laid to rest for one final time. Only where you are there is no further need of red letters narrated by eyewitnesses. You have become one yourself, a celebrated member of the cloud of many witnesses, and the voice of many waters has no doubt opened your eyes anew for all eternity. What you once glimpsed dimly through the mind’s eye you now behold face to face. It makes my tears break into a knowing smile as I can almost hear you repeat the refrain, “Amazing! Just amazing!” 

Say G’day to our beloved Nabeel for me.


1 reply
  1. Linda Hartranft
    Linda Hartranft says:

    I’m wiping away the tears after reading your tribute to Ravi to my husband. I could scarcely get through it. You captured that which we observed and loved about him, which most surely was Christ being manifested uniquely through Ravi. It was so easy to see Christ in him. When I heard the news, I also cried then, and I told my husband later –which you acknowledged as well, that I was saddened to think of the world without Ravi Zacharias in it. I pray that God’s purpose in taking him (when He could have easily healed him) is accomplished. I’m praying that the million + of us who weep at his home-going will take up his mantle and his passion and continue the work which he so articulately modeled for us. Thank you for writing this wonderful post.

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