Walking from East to West: God in the Shadowsby Ravi Zacharias
For more than three decades, apologist Ravi Zacharias has shared bits and pieces of his personal life and experience.
In Walking from East to West, now in softcover, Zacharias invites you 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 ..
For more than three decades, apologist Ravi Zacharias has shared bits and pieces of his personal life and experience.
In Walking from East to West, now in softcover, Zacharias invites you 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.
Zacharias invites you to follow him on this journey through his life and into the lives of others, and to see how he has become more convinced with each year that Jesus Christ is the one who came to give you life to the fullest.
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- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
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.
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!'
Meet 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. SPANISH BIO: Ravi Zacharias, master en divinidades de Trinity International University, es un orador reconocido asi como presidente de Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Su programa semanal de radio, Let My People Think, se retransmite por mas de mil quinientas emisoras de todo el mundo. Es autor de varios libros para adultos y ninos. Su ultimo libro, De Oriente a Occidente, fue editado por Editorial Vida en el ano 2006. El Dr. Zacharias y su esposa residen in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The book was a good read, not too long, with chapters was spread out well and it was an engaging read. It first talks about the author's childhood and living standards in India. Also, how he grew up in a nominal Christian family, faithfully attending services but not pious. It further explores his relationship with his dad (who he is quick not to blame), his mum and his grandmother, his education while he was young, his own struggle with his own loneliness which culminated in a suicide attempt. One surprising fact was that Ravi Zacharias was a rather good cricket player and still is excited about this sport. One verse that was stuck with him whist on bed recovering from his suicide attempt was John 14:19b "Because I live, you also will live". Which nearing the end of the book gives a surprise about the significance of this verse in his own (family) life. After conversion, Ravi was deeply influenced by YFC and also was exposed to preaching, which in the future would be his full-time vocation: A itinerant preacher and apologist. Hereafter Ravi talks about his life as one training to be a hotel manager, and the family's transit to Canada and how he met Margie (his future wife) and also how he was slowly used by God in his preaching, within Canada and in other parts of the world. What I personally felt the book was highlighting was how God was working behind the scenes in his life, God has indeed plan all things in his life to make him who he is today. Second, I've seen how passionate Ravi is for the Indians, how he longs for all to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Many times he shares about how he longs to be able to go back to India frequently and see more of them come to know and believe in Jesus Christ. Rating: 4.5/5
The author takes you through an amazing journey depicting his life.
This book is an outstanding autobiographical account that provides hope for anyone that has ever thought their life isn't worth living. It also provides a nice bridge between the eastern and western cultural divide. I couldn't put it down!
I look at Ravi Zacharias' book, Walking from East to West, as a door that opens into a glorious new spectrum of the Christian Faith. When Ravi reaches old age, I imagine that he too may be tempted to roll down a hillside shouting, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" And laying there at the bottom, he will look up and all around him. Slowly, his facial expression will disengage from the obvious pain he has caused himself and reflect on that early childhood memory of the old mystic that did the same to his god and jolted Ravi's soul into its present awakening. That same face will begin to register the presence of the hundreds upon thousands of people who stand at the bottom of that hill, but were not there a moment ago when he began his woeful decline down from the top of the hill. As if by magic, they all appeared. When Ravi would look into their eyes, the memory of them came into his mind. Gradually, they all begin to pray with one voice. Then laughter and song burst forth as our sweet Ravi begins the final journey toward our Heavenly Father. His body convulses in pain as he calls out to his nearest and dearest. Many touch his body and start to weep. He is torn. The heartache of leaving his loved ones behind only makes the end come sooner. His body racked with pain; its earthly purpose used up. Only now the Father awaits a new commission. Ravi's silver white hair glows around his head and his eyes begin to stare at some unseen figure. Looking upward to the sky, he cries out, "What are you doing?' to the angels as they gently lift him up. "My work is not done yet." And they answer him and say, "The Father has need of you." Ravi being Ravi struggled to put forth his greatest philosophical argument , but to no avail. He takes in a deep breath and as the lights fade from his eyes, a slow but progressive smile spreads over the whole of his countenance, so much so, that it melts the hearts of those closest beside him. His final words descend into a beautiful whisper as he uttered them with complete joy and gladness in his soul. "Oh, I see . . . you are right . . . I must go now!" And our wonderful, beloved Ravi was gone. In writing Walking from East to West, Ravi experiences a physical and spiritual journey that is unique in many ways. He overcomes so much adversity that it makes one wonder how belief in God and His son Jesus Christ can remain intact, and in fact grow and prosper. As a true inspiration to the faith, I would nominate Ravi for sainthood, if only for the fact that he has had to put up with so much ignorance and disbelief from those that would do anything to disprove God. To you Ravi I would say that this modern world is much richer and better equipped to deal with this onslaught only because you were willing to go the farthest, work the hardest, and proclaim your faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the whole world and not be afraid to do it. God Bless you and your family, and I pray that this new year will bring great rewards to the millions you have reached through your ministry. I thank you and the Lord for giving me the strength and sense of purpose to defend the Christian faith. I too have been broken and lost, but my faith has made me whole again. I know and understand that those who have the greatest faith and commitment are the ones who have traveled to the end of the universe, stared out into the black abyss and absence of stars and cried out, "I can't go on any farther. I need a God who is greater than I to pull me back toward Him, for I cannot live separate from Him. Man can offer hopeless dreams, eternal darkness and separation, but I choose to look upward for my salvation. I too hope to someday to hear the words when I die, "Well done, my good and faithful servant," so that I can live anew in Christ. Thank you again Ravi for all of your hard work, I know it hasn't been easy.