Dr Issam Raad, HOME President
Just a few hours before Ravi Zacharias left our cancer center, I was informed by one of the physicians taking care of him that our oncologists had reached the limit of what they are able to offer him in terms of therapy. I asked my colleague: “How did he receive this bad news?”. The answer was: “In complete serenity”.
I wanted to visit with Rev Ravi Zacharias, I wanted to encourage him and stand by his side. During the several weeks that he spent here in Houston, my church, the Arabic Church of Houston, and HOME members felt that they have been entrusted with a very precious part of Christ. They wanted to serve him and help in any way they could. We were told that they could provide meals and so they did. With the meals there were cards of encouragement. The response were loving messages from Ravi, Margie and their precious daughter Naomi.
When I entered his room, I was greeted with his incredible smile. There was something special in that room: the presence of the living God and His peace that surpasses all understanding. There was also a guardian angel: his wife Margie. He smiled. He thanked me much for the love of the Arabic community of faith. Then he talked and started reminiscing about his visits to the Middle East and his encounters with the great men of God in that part of the world. He asked me if I knew Rev Farid Khouri from Syria. I told him that Rev Khouri was a precious pastor who started HOME in Syria and had a great impact on my life. Apparently, people like Rev Khouri and Roy Whitman and others in the Middle East who were the forefathers of the faith in the last century, were very good friends of him. While he was talking to me, he mentioned that he was ready. You could tell. You could tell from his face that the spirit of the living Christ had comforted his heart. That the man was not only ready… but yearning to meet the One who loved him to the uttermost.
He also maintained a great sense of humor. He joked with me about how precious the Middle Eastern people are, and we talked about the ministry in that part of the world. He shared with me that he is ready to meet His Savior and he longs to be with Him. This touched my heart. At the end he smiled and said: “Brother would you pray with me?”. What an awesome moment. I was reminded of the words of Ravi himself “if you are a praying Christian, your faith in God is what is carrying you, through both the good times and the hard times. However, if you are not a praying person, you are carrying your faith”. I realized what a great faith this man has… The faith of the Son of God who loved him and gave His life for him, was now carrying him to glory.
I bowed my head, put my hand at his side and his precious wife joined us. Honestly, I did not know what to pray, but I felt that I wanted to give thanks to the Savior who gave us His life but who also gave us great men and women like Ravi and Margie. I prayed fervently and I felt more and more the presence of the Savior in that room. At the end, he thanked me with a smile, as if to tell me we shall meet again very soon
Today as we join millions of Christ-filled believers in honoring the memory of Rev Ravi, we want to give thanks for God’s unspeakable gift in Christ and the gift of our dear Ravi… “Although he is dead, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).
How precious are the words of the Lord: “the memory of the righteous is a blessing” (Proverbs 10:7) … “and the righteous shall be an everlasting remembrance” (Psalm 112:6)
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”