Remembering Dr. Ravi
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - June 7, 2020 - 12:00am

My family and I participated in the memorial service of Dr. Ravi Zacharias last Friday evening. This was covered live through Youtube.

Derek Caldwell wrote in an article posted on “Ravi Zacharias was laid to rest on Thursday, May 21, in a private ceremony in Georgia. Sam Allberry, who officiated the service, rightly reminded all that this is not the end of Ravi’s story. Hovering over the whole ceremony was the confidence of the words that had saved Ravi’s life 57 years ago: “Because I live, you will also live” (John 14:19).

Allberry explained that the Christian’s hope is grounded in the assurance of Christ’s life and faithfulness. Since Christ lives, we know that Ravi lives. In that sense, the grave is something of a painful deception. Ravi now rests cradled in our Lord’s earth not as one who has been snatched from life, but as a dear saint ultimately liberated to life everlasting in the presence of his Lord and Savior.

Using an analogy fitting of a man who had spent his life spanning the globe, Allberry described the grave as an airport transit lounge visited before one reaches their final destination. “We know it is not the final destination because it was not Christ’s final destination. Our hope is as certain as Jesus’s grave is empty.”

Ravi passed away on May 19 after a short battle with cancer at the age of 74. He died on his mother’s birthday. He is survived by his wife, Margie, their three children, and five grandchildren.”

I have lost a mentor and a personal friend. I met Dr. Ravi through a set of cassette tapes given me by Dr. Romy Solis after I spoke for him in his class in UP. This was in 1999. After listening to Dr. Ravi I was hooked. Read his books, followed his work, and even went to Oxford University to attend his Summer Apologetics and Philosophy course.

In a “birthday dinner” I organized with friends; that evening, my three children stood at the back of the room and listened. Their lives were never the same. It made them seek to study Scriptures and love Jesus more and has made their lives more meaningful to this day. Always the humble and gracious Dr. Ravi stood as a sponsor in my daughter’s wedding and spoke words of encouragement. January of this year and just before he flew back to Atlanta for his surgery, he requested to see my grandson Matteo, blessed the child and prayed for him.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias says: “We are made up of thoughts, intentions, choices none of these are physical. No matter how much we try to run away from this thirst for the answer to life, for the meaning of life, the intensity only gets stronger and stronger. We cannot escape these spiritual hungers.” His words still resonate in me today.

Dr. Ravi would pack the auditorium of Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Georgia Tech, and people from all over the world would attend his conferences. My friend and I were planning to do one here in Manila this June but then again God have different plans. He has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, the British Parliament, The Lenin Military Academy and in many places in the Middle East. Yet one of the places that he has visited many times would be Angola Prison.

Caldwell writes: “In his most recent book, Seeing Jesus from the East, with great insight; Ravi did not know that his words would be full of so much meaning for his loved ones just a few months after they were penned.”

“These prisoners know that this world is not their home,” Ravi explains, “and that no coffin could ever be their final destination. Jesus assured us of that. Such is the gospel story.” He expands on this message later, writing “The story of the gospel is the story of eternal life. My life is unique and will endure eternally in God’s presence. I will never be ‘no more.’ I will never be lost because I will be with the One who saves me.” Dr. Ravi Zacharias was buried in a casket fashioned by Angola inmates as his request is granted.

My family miss him. I miss him terribly. Yet we know that we shall see him. Dr. Ravi told me years ago, “Francis, in Christ we never say goodbye, we only say “So Long!”

So long Dr. Ravi.

(Connect with Francis Kong in Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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