This week's 'thought' comes from Ravi Zacharias and is found in his book "Cries of the Heart - Bringing God Near When He Feels So Far." One of his other books, "Can Man Live Without God" (lectures delivered at Harvard University and later put into book form) is one of the most compelling and profound arguments for the existence of God that I have ever read. In our secularized and semi-atheistic society it is well worth whatever time it takes you to read it! You can also hear broadcasts of his radio program "Let My People Think" on over 550 radio stations worldwide.
Ravi was born in India. He was descended from a line of Hindu priests (of the Nambudiri Brahmin caste). At one point a German priest spoke to one of his ancestors about Christianity and the family was converted and embraced the Christian faith. At that point they changed the family name from Nambudiri to Zacharias. Though Ravi grew up in a nominal Anglican home, he was himself an atheist until the age of 17. Our thought for today picks up at that point! Enjoy.
"Many make the assumption that God is unknowable or too distant. The Scriptures remind us that God has graciously invited us to come to Him on a personal level. He reaches out to every man, woman and child and says: 'Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest' (Matt. 11:28).
I very seldom like to mention the turning point of my own life, for it is a very private matter and sometimes still hurts to think of it, to say nothing of the embarrassment it must bring to my family... I was seventeen years old when, with neither great intensity or great anguish, I came to the recognition that life had very little meaning. The more I pondered its harsh implication the closer I drew to a decision. That decision was to choose the way of suicide.
I found myself after that attempt lying in a hospital bed, having expelled all the poison that I had taken but unsure if I would recover. There on that bed, with a dehydrated body, the Scriptures were read to me. The flooding of my heart with the news that Jesus Christ could come into my life and that I could know God personally defies the depths to which the truth overwhelmed me. In that moment, with a simple prayer of trust, the change from a desperate heart to one that found the fullness of meaning became a reality for me.
God reached down to a teenager in a hospital bed in the city of New Delhi, a mega-city of teeming millions. Imagine! God cared enough to hear my cry. How incredible that He has a personal interest in the struggles of our lives. I cannot express it better than to say that His self-sufficiency and greatness do not deny us the wonderful joy of being affirmed in our individuality and of knowing that we are of unique value to Him. That was the point of the parable Jesus told about the shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep in the fold and went looking for the one. The breadth of the gospel in its implications for history and for all of humanity ought never to diminish the personal application of it... God is not just the God of power in creation; He is the God of presence in our affliction."
The immense power, greatness and majesty of God does not (as the Deist asserted) make Him distant. Just the opposite is true. God can be near to us all precisely because He is so infinitely immense and great! If we think or feel otherwise, then it is not because our understanding or view of God is too great, but as J. B. Phillips put it, because "Your God is too Small."