On January 4, my dad recited a stanza from this hymn from the late Richard Baxter (1615-1691):
“Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will thy glory be!
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.”
None of us could have imagined just two months after reciting that last stanza that my dad would learn he had cancer and he would experience the realization of this more than 300-year-old hymn so soon. Today we affirm, as my dad recited and Baxter penned, “But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, and I shall be with Him.” My dad, at 74, has “join[ed] with the triumphant saints that sing [his] Savior’s praise.” We who knew and loved him celebrate his life, and more importantly, his Savior.
It was his Savior, Jesus Christ, that my dad always wanted most to talk about. Even in his final days, until he lacked the energy and breath to speak, he turned every conversation to Jesus and what the Lord had done. He perpetually marveled that God took a seventeen-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture—a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years.
His thoughts and conversations in recent years and his final weeks were saturated with gratitude for this team of evangelists, apologists, and staff that he called family: RZIM—Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He spoke of our evangelists’ tender hearts and their love for people. Some have said my dad blazed a trail when he began commending the Christian faith and addressing life’s great questions of meaning nearly five decades ago. As one friend dear to him remarked, he has also paved that path, desiring that his teammates around the world would continue so untold millions might know the same Jesus he faithfully served—the one he now sees face-to-face.
My dad’s humility, grace, tenderness for people, and above all love for the Lord are forever imprinted on my mind, my heart, and my life. His love for our family will be impossible to replace until we join him in heaven one day. Ravi and Margie just celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. My mother was entirely committed to my dad’s calling and to this ministry, believing God called them together. I cannot recall even one moment when I saw her commitment to this calling weaken, because she always placed unwavering trust in the God who called them and in His purposes. We experienced God’s kindness and faithfulness in so many ways as we felt Him journeying with us in bringing my dad home. For this we are at peace and filled with deep gratitude to God for the innumerable expressions of His love. Naomi, Nathan, and I are deeply grateful for your continuing prayers for our mother, Margie, and the many expressions of love you have shown to her and to us.
Soon our family will gather for a graveside service. In the days ahead we will provide details for a public memorial service to be held in Atlanta and streamed around the world.
The Gospel of John records these words of Jesus: “Because I live, you also will live” (14:19)—seven words that changed the trajectory of Ravi Zacharias’s life some 57 years ago. It is a verse etched on his grandmother’s grave stone and will be etched on his too. Today my beautiful father is more alive than he has ever been. We thank God for him and recommit our lives to sharing this truth with all who will hear, until He calls us to our eternal home.
With deep love and gratitude, and on behalf of Margie, Naomi, and Nathan,