Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows
Christian apologist and international speaker Ravi Zacharias wins hearts wherever he goes. In this memoir of his life thus far, Zacharias discloses the hardships and struggles of his youth in India. Readers will instinctively feel his deep commitment to speaking truth presented in the gentlest terms possible. Clearly, this world-renowned lecturer's reputation for humility and kindness will be evidenced throughout this respectful rendition of his life, country of origin, family, friends and early associates.
Zacharias describes India as a country of magnificent contradictions, a land where some of the greatest minds derive and then contribute to society's advances in medicine, philosophy and technology --- though its inhabitants long for a better economic way of life. So it's no surprise that, on more recent visits to his homeland, Zacharias sees the stark contradictions of this harsh reality and compares it to a person's longing for more than mere economic stability. He notes that "...we can convince ourselves that the answer to everything lies in economic well-being. But it does not ultimately solve the deepest questions that haunt you. That is where religion is supposed to help. To offer answers."
During his youth, one of Zacharias's first introductions to Western religion by way of Jehovah's Witnesses did not serve to meet this inner restlessness. After consideration of the sect's beliefs, he began asking more pointed spiritual questions. Living with a harsh, abusive father, he was subjected to verbal and physical ill treatment that lasted for years. Unable to please his father, he did find respite in his relationship with his loving mother who also suffered abuse from her spouse. Success was measured by the academic accolades one achieved, and his sole claim to fame came on the cricket field. Only after he tried to commit suicide did he and his mother find a new hope --- a relationship with Christ.
Zacharias tells of the impact the Youth for Christ organization and its workers had on him during his teen years. With compelling dialogue, readers will glean insight into India's culture and the poignant differences between how Western and Eastern people think about family, religion, career and government. Zacharias and his brother eventually scout out Canada for the upcoming arrival of their family, and at this time Zacharias is faced with a multitude of career and life decisions. As an informal but clearly gifted preacher, he eventually determines his calling and furthers his education at Bible College, marries a native Canadian, moves to the U.S. to pursue a teaching position, and finally begins a life of international travel.
During his 30-plus years of expounding upon God's Word, Zacharias has met, spoken to, and become friends with dignitaries the world over, yet his common man's voice is what readers will love and embrace. He has a powerful message indeed, and that --- underscored by a life characterized by honor and integrity --- will surely be listened to and heeded.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on November 13, 2011