Hero of the Faith

In my lifetime, I have had more than a handful of heroes. I am very grateful. My dad and my husband are obvious ones. An amazing son and two great daughters. A few more include some great Christian school teachers, administrators, and professors. But, today I want to single out Ravi Zacharias, undoubtedly the foremost Christian Apologist of modern and postmodern times. This great hero of faith passed away on May 19, 2020 after a brief battle with cancer.

In my life’s trajectory, I was long ago privileged to be a Christian high school student who understood the importance of Apologetics. With excellent Christian high school preparation, I was able to navigate college and career and family life with a solid biblical worldview. I gained an ability to defend my Christian faith. As a Christian school teacher and administrator, I deeply respected the Bible teachers who embraced the urgency of Christian Apologetics and who worked diligently to well train their students to be apologists.

In recent years, one outstanding Bible teacher with whom I had the privilege to work also became a close friend. Karen was genuinely a gift to her senior high school students. Her ability to train them was fueled by the Holy Spirit and developed under the influence of Ravi Zacharias. I encountered one of Karen’s students a few months ago who heralded Karen for the excellent preparation she received that enabled her to engage in intellectual debate with her college professors and navigate through a culture of peers with philosophies and faith issues splashed all over the spectrum. With faith still intact, I must add.

Ravi’s God-given vision in ministry (RZIM) was, and still is, to help believers to think and thinkers to believe. Thinking and believing – also the reality in my friend Karen’s ministry to young people. I am doubly blessed. Thankful for the godly influence of Ravi Zacharias paired with the dedicated heart of Karen to teach Truth and how to skillfully think about Truth.

Not coincidentally, in the livestream memorial service for Ravi Zacharias on Friday, May 29, 2020, part of Psalm 37 was read by Ravi’s daughter Sarah Davis. This scripture was the inspiration of my blog that I started 5 years ago (that you are reading now). Psalm 37 provided comfort and truth to me at a time when I walked through institutional spiritual warfare never before experienced in my lifetime. The voice of Ravi Zacharias reminded me to expect battles to be intense, and to remember the Battle Winner, Jesus Christ. Not as if waving a magic wand, but based upon faith strengthened through an intellectually sound apologetic. Thinking and believing.

Psalm 37:1-6 says, “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit you way to the Lord; trust in him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun…” Even when the battle is intense, the Battle Winner is the trustworthy Lord.

Ravi’s daughter Naomi spoke about the blessing of her loving father. She testified that the most outstanding thing about her dad was that he loved her and saw her. Really saw her. Like Christ does. In a world where becoming invisible is on the uprise, Ravi, like Jesus, really saw people. He looked. He saw. He made people visible, cherished, valued, loved.

As God often does, in one moment He connects life events into a tapestry so that you can see His capable hands orchestrating a purposeful whole. During Ravi’s memorial service, God connected many things for me. Psalm 37. The music of Matt Redman and Shane & Shane. The message of Pastor Louie Giglio (Passion City Church, Atlanta, GA). The comments of Ravi’s brother Ramesh, showing me that the influence that one believer can have in one family is phenomenal. And the influence of a hero is a gift that continues giving long after his or her passing.

All these memorial reflections made me rehearse and be grateful for the spiritual heroes God has placed in my life. Those who helped me to think and to believe. Thank you Ravi Zacharias for helping believers to think and thinkers to believe. You are an enduring hero of the faith!

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