It’s been 11 days now since he returned to the Lord.
Still, I don’t know where to begin to add my meagre voice to the multitudes everywhere, testifying to the goodness of this man; arguably the greatest intellect, evangelist and Christian apologist these past four decades have ever seen:
For the longest time, I’ve been in awe of people God’s blessed my generation with. People who inspire and point me and countless others to the risen saviour. The books and speeches by these fervent and gifted Christ-followers of our times (Graham, Palau, Yancey, Turek and many more) have helped do one thing well – point me back to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“Uncle Ravi”, as he’s also affectionately referred to by many, stands tall among these. Yet despite his staggering reputation, I will honestly say that I’ve only ever owned and read one of his plethora of published works – The Lotus and the Cross.
And I never even finished it (gulp)!
But I am far more in awe of all the public Q&As he fielded with so much poise and aplomb across the decades. Thank God many of these are captured on Youtube videos. In each one, you can see that he never beats a sweat against the toughest of questions. And he always had a satisfying answer.
But more than his wisdom and intellect, I was touched by his kindness and heart towards every person, every questioner he encountered.
Uncle Ravi always went behind the question to understand the questioner. It was his deep-seated belief that we are to answer the person, and not merely the question. For me, that speaks to the righteous and godly posture he had towards every individual; the tender care he showed to every truth seeker.
Sometimes in life, a person comes along that just inspires you to be a better version of who you are right now. For me, Uncle Ravi is that person, and his passing is a true loss, one that leaves a void hard to fill.
As long as he’s around, I still think that we can easily diffuse the fiery voices of opposition that constantly besiege earnest believers everywhere. Now that he’s gone, who will stand against the onslaught that’s sure to follow, one that’s likely to be full of renewed vigour and ruthless determination to undo what Uncle Ravi’s tried to do all these years: help believers think, and thinkers believe?
For sure, clumsy oafs like me who forgot to factor in the questioner but butted headfirst into one intellectual discussion 11 months ago, will remember well the sting of being subsequently and unfairly branded a ‘relentless proselytizer’. This was something I wrote about in my last post of 2019.
If only I had “sat” at Uncle Ravi’s feet and learnt well from him before that unfortunate incident. I lost more than the argument that day. I lost a potential life-long friend, the chance to see him come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and my nerve to testify henceforth.
These days, I reckon my best bet to further God’s kingdom here on earth is just to pray. I’m too much of an emotional wreck to tackle such confrontations in a God-honouring way, seeing how easy it was for me to get worked up when face-to-face with a conflict. Better leave apologetics to the more composed and steel-willed Christian who can confront confidently, but simultaneously show patience, grace and humility.
No Uncle Ravi, please don’t worry. I’m not throwing in the towel. That would be an affront to your legacy. Rather, I’m thinking that for now, I might be able to better live out 1 Peter 3:15 than 2 Timothy 4:2.
Until then, let me get back to the one book of yours I still own and finish reading it. I promise not to stop there though. I shall “sit at your feet” with at least a few more of your other great works. Hopefully, thereafter, I shall be able to move fluidly between 1 Peter 3:15 and 2 Timothy 4:2.
Thank You so much Uncle Ravi! Wait for me ok? I want to meet you in heaven soon, tell you what I’ve learnt, and spend an eternity with you and other saints, worshipping our Lord and Saviour for all of eternity!