Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows

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9780310262633: Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows

God in the Shadows The life journey of one of our generation’s greatest defenders of the faith. In a contemporary world, most travel is at breakneck speed. But this memoir is a journey on foot―a walk―with plenty of time to stop, to wonder, to talk, to linger, and to reflect. For more than three decades, apologist Ravi Zacharias has shared bits and pieces of his personal life and experience. Now in Walking from East to Westhe invites readers to follow him on a journey through his life: to see and smell the neighborhood in India where he grew up, to feel a mother’s love and the consternation of a harsh father . . . and the lure of a rebellious soul. In a crisis experience, Zacharias exchanged pantheism for monotheism, and meaninglessness for true fulfillment in Christ. He has traveled from the East to the West, and then back again to answer skeptics’ penetrating questions about the meaning of life and the existence of a God who is there for his children. Dr. Zacharias believes that the greatest argument for the living God is a life lived in Christ, and in this book, he reveals his own. Also available as abridged audio CDs, read by the author.

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About the Author:

Ravi Zacharias is President and Founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).  Their global outreach grew from humble roots in 1984 and includes fielding a team of itinerant speakers who operate from offices located around the world including the U.S., the UK, Romania, the Middle East, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Canada.  The Hallmark of Ravi’s heart is his strong evangelistic and apologetic that manifests itself from a position of compassion.

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Walking from East to West Copyright 2006 by Ravi Zacharias This title is also available as a Zondervan ebook product. Visit www.zondervan.com/ebooks for more information. This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product. Visit www.zondervan.com/audiopages for more information. Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Zacharias, Ravi K. Walking from east to west : God in the shadows / Ravi Zacharias with R. S. Sawyer --- 1st ed. p. cm. ISBN -- 13: 978-0-310-25915-2 ISBN -- 10: 0-310-25915-0 1. Zacharias, Ravi K. 2. Christian biography --- India. 3. Christian biography --- Canada. I. Sawyer, Scott. II. Title. BR1725.Z33A3 2006 269'.2'092 --- dc22 2005020433 This edition printed on acid-free paper. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means --- electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other --- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Published in association with the literary agency of Wolgemuth and Associates, Inc. Part 3 title page photos by Tigert Communications, Nashville, TN, USA Interior design by Beth Shagene Printed in the United States of America We want to hear from you. Please send your comments about this book to us in care of zreview@zondervan.com. Thank you. Preface Some books are difficult to write; others border on the almost impossible. This one is in the latter category. Many friends and even strangers over the years have asked if I would pen such a story, and when Zondervan asked me to write a book of my memoirs, I concluded that the time had come. The difficulty lies on many fronts. First is that of accurate recall. How does one piece together all of the past? How does one be truly objective when one's own feelings are locked in to the situation? Then arises a very personal matter. How do you tell a story of such intimate issues and not at the same time make someone else look unduly bad or good? That was the toughest challenge of all. It is one thing for an individual to disclose his or her own heart, but to do so for someone else runs an unfortunate risk. If I have erred here, I sincerely hope it is not because of any personal ill will but only because I know the story did not end as it had begun. As I struggled with these issues, the publisher agreed to have me tell the story to another writer, who would spend hours with me and others to cull the material and then write it in the way it unfolded. I took the narrative he penned and wrote the story line in my own words, along with his. Throughout this process, the publisher asked if I would keep it at a simple level of reach and not make it inaccessible in content and depth. The goal was simple: 'Tell us your story in the simplest terms with your heart on your sleeve.' I suppose being accustomed to writing on philosophical themes, this was a reminder to me as 'a word to the wise.' So that has been the approach. Much more could have been said and said at a lofty level portraying all my philosophical struggles and so on. But we avoided that. Maybe some instances in the narrative 12 preface need not have been shared, but were in order to show the backdrop of what was shaping me all along. What I do know is that as I retraced steps and memories, some of them were hard to relive, while others brought a renewed sense of happiness; some memories brought the depth of tears to the surface, and yet others brought to mind cherished moments long forgotten. I have concluded that it is an exercise that is well undertaken by everybody --- to journal and write down one's thoughts at shorter intervals. Memories are good reminders of what God has done and where we could have done better. I remember the time an older man asked me when I was young, 'Do you know what you are doing now?' I thought it was some kind of trick question. 'Tell me,' I said. 'You are building your memories,' he replied, 'so make them good ones.' If each reader would glean just that from the book, then it will have been worth it. But there is something greater here, and it is this: as life progresses, you wish there were some safeguards you had taken along the way, and even some different decisions you had made along the way. For one, I wish I had talked more to my parents about their past and about my ancestors. What did they know? What were the stories of their lives? What made each one the way they were? Now it is too late for that, for my parents have both passed away. I nevertheless come away with the absolute certainty that God has ordered my steps and that God was there, even in the darkest moments of my life. I know this as surely as I know I exist. He never abandoned me and has brought me by His grace and mercy this far. This is the most certain truth I possess, and it is truly liberating. One other great enrichment was to think back on my youth in India, even as now the West has become home. India gave me much that I can never repay. It really is an intriguing culture --- weaknesses and ironies notwithstanding. Now living first in Canada and then in America, these countries have become home. I am so grateful to God for the privilege of living here. Beyond my residences, the heart has found its home in my faith and love for Jesus Christ. I sincerely hope and pray that as you read these pages, you will feel Him near to you and that you will be guided by His wisdom and kept by His grace. Without Him, this story would not be worth telling or reading. Part 1 East Chapter 1 A Life Out of Nothing One of my earliest memories is of the old man on my street, a mystic who wore only a loincloth. He was tall, with matted hair and piercing eyes, quite fearsome to look at. Mud was caked all over his bony frame, his face was scarred by deep gashes that were self-inflicted from his religious devotion, and his skin was burned by constant exposure to the torrid heat of the midday sun. 'How did he come to look like this?' I wondered as a boy. 'What had he done to himself?' I found out soon enough. Two or three times each week he would appear on our street; then, almost like a coiled rope unwinding, he would lie down on that filthy road and begin his routine. Cow dung and dog droppings littered the path, to say nothing of the stones or sharp objects that cluttered it as well, yet he would roll down the length of the street with a howl that sounded as if it came from the depths of a cavern. 'Govinda! Govinda! Govinda!' I had no clue what his cry was about --- I only knew it terrified me. It was an astonishing sight to a five-year-old, and I recall scampering to my mother and asking her, 'What is he doing? What is he doing?' 'He's OK,' she replied. 'Just ignore him.' 'But what is he doing?' I would implore. 'Why is he doing it?' 'He's calling to his god!' she said. That did not quench my curiosity. But I did not pursue it as long as he continued to roll away from me, and his voice became a faint but haunting sound in the distance: 'Govinda!'

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