God in the shadow

I just finished reading the memoirs of Ravi Zacharias, "God in the shadow: Walking from East to West". The book is essentially Ravi Zacharias' effect to piece together the fragments of his life and making sense of what God has been doing in his life.

Perhaps reading his own testimony on how God has called him as an itinerant speaker and how He eventually stirred him to go for full time theological education, I am able to identify better with the one Christian minister whom I admire the most and whom I consider as my intellectual mentor - through his writings and ministry - though I have never met him before (it would be a great day if I am able to just spend a meal with him but well...). It was mainly through the writing and preaching of Ravi Zacharias that begins my own intellectual journey and further spearheaded my spiritual walk with God. They opened up my mind towards apologetics, and eventually theology, and epitomises what I hope to do for God - touching people for Christ not only in the heart but through the mind, a missionary at heart who is also at the same time a learned theologian and apologist. Reading his journey as a seminary student, I can greatly identify with him in his hunger to learn the word of God more, and in the struggles he has to face as he responds to God's calling.

As I read the book, something he says struck me a lot as I think back on God's own calling for me. In one of the pages, after recounting an incident when he was in Vietnam during the Vietnam War period, he says this, "God has an appointment with each of us and it is critical that every man and woman know this. He will stop our steps when it is not our time, and He will lead us when it is. This is a reassuring truth to know for every believer, and a necessary thrust for anyone who ministers in areas of great risks". How true this statement is. As I ponder in my heart how God has led me over the past three years, through all the ups and downs, He always seems to be building towards something in my life. For three years, since I first graduated from NUS, it was His will that I hold and let Him do His work in me before He reveals clearly of His calling for me into formal theological studies.

I have to qualify and pause for a moment. It is my contention that this is not the end but the beginning. Enrolling and eventually completing a formal theological study is a means that God will use in my life further down the road for His purpose. I see this stage as a stage of preparation, though I really don't know what He has in mind. That being said, the passion for mission still remains within me and I will also think about it so much more frequently in what I can do for God in the mission fields.

Looking back a few years back, if it wasn't for listening to his podcasts and reading his books, I would say that I would not have developed the theological sharpness that people seem to notice in me and that is where I say that it was all mapped out by God and I simply did what I had to do at the moment - to seek avenues for growth and to deepen my knowledge in Christ and the Scripture. Ask me three years ago, and I would never have imagined myself going for theological studies. I did consider Biola but that was about the Masters of Arts in Christian Apologetics and till this day, I remain hopeful that one day, I will be able to study under the tutelage of the philosophers and apologists who teach at Biola.

Concluding my reading of the book, I understand what Ravi Zacharias wanted to bring across in his memoir and this is nicely summed up by the man himself, "God is in the shadow in many ways, but He is also in the bright light of what His servants do every day". His life story has indeed inspired me a lot once again to continue to strive for Christ and His kingdom.


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