“Well, here at last, dear friends,
on the shores of the Sea
comes the end of our fellowship
Go in peace!
I will not say: do not weep;
for not all tears are an evil.”
I have been two times with Ravi. The first time, it was not his knowledge or his eloquence what impacted me the most, but his humbleness. I felt the power of the Spirit in his meekness, so much so that it brought me to tears. Such a powerful experience made me wonder whether the apostles, the Samaritan woman, or any other who crossed ways with Jesus, felt the same thing as I did on that time.
The second time was here in Miami, three months ago. Here I could notice he was more stern than the first time. It was not because he wasn’t loving when people approached him or because he lacked passion in his presentation; because it was pretty obvious that he was trying to give it all. There was something deeper. I knew through social networks that he had been in a long tour all around the world, an I have always known of his back infirmities, so I imagined that my perception was due to his being exhausted.
At the main event at the Watsco center, I went up on the stage in order to set the table for the customary Q&A portion of his conferences. I initially placed it to the left of the interviewer, as she had requested (Ravi was at her right, and she wanted better visual contact). When I left the stage, some ladies in his ministry, visibly concerned for his health, strongly urged me to go back to the platform to move the table close to Ravi. His backache was so unbearable that he could not even hold the Bible comfortably on his lap while seating. But he did not complain, not even once.
So I went up to move the table again and I told him: ‘Ravi, I came back to move the table closer to you, so that you can put your Bible on it and rest your back.’ His facial expression changed instantaneously. I saw the relief in his eyes, and his look recovered the same softness I met the first time. Ravi had been all the time doing a superhuman effort to endure the pain, so that he could be close to people and share the Message. You cannot fake something like that. Ravi walks the talk. He lives the grace that he believes in. He gives the grace that he received.
What I want to say is that, even though it is okay to be sad, it is also a privilege to have lived while he has been among us. He has exerted such a strong influence in many of us. Because of people like him, we have the reassurance, 2000 years after, that the truth of Christianity, the truth that goes well beyond words and rational arguments, is still prevailing and transforming lives. His life is a witness. The Message is real.
We know that, even if Ravi goes to his heavenly home because of this cancer, we have a better hope. It is a hope that is bigger than any illness, bigger than death itself.
Ravi has lived as a good and faithful servant. But if he leaves this world to go to Christ, it will be a proof that all that he said was worth living. And his joy in His presence would be the crown of a life offered to his beloved Lord and God.