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Dr Zacharias and wife, Margie, celebrating his 74th birthday today. “We are deeply touched by the kindness and concern shown to my dad over the past few weeks, especially as we received the unexpected news about his tumour," said eldest daughter and RZIM Global CEO, Sarah Davis. Photo from RZIM's Facebook page.

Dr Ravi Zacharias turns 74 today and you can give him a birthday present.

Pray for his health.

“I have every belief God directed and prompted my surgeon to his discovery of this tumour.”

The Christian apologist, evangelist and founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) revealed in a Facebook post on March 12 that he has been diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare cancer.

In an e-mail to Salt&Light, Dr Zacharias’ eldest daughter, Sarah Davis, who took over as Global CEO of RZIM when Dr Zacharias stepped down in 2019, said: “We are deeply touched by the kindness and concern shown to my dad over the past few weeks, especially as we received the unexpected news about his tumour.

“The love, prayers and care from people around the world is truly heartening, and our family is grateful.

“We ask for prayers for wisdom regarding his treatment, relief from pain, physical healing and sustained strength,” she said, adding that, at the advice of medical specialists, Dr Zacharias will begin treatment to shrink the tumour next month, after he has fully healed from a back surgery.

Ruth Malhotra, RZIM International’s spokesperson, said the public’s overwhelming outpouring of kind messages and prayers for Dr Zacharias since his sarcoma diagnosis has been a “tremendous source of encouragement to Ravi and Margie and our entire global team”.

Grace in pain

Dr Zacharias himself recognises the divine timeliness of the discovery of his cancer.

In his March 12 Facebook post, he wrote: “We believe we have already seen evidence of His (God’s) hand. For example, the tumour did not show up on any previous scans and was only discovered by my surgeon identifying it during (back) surgery.

“I have every belief God directed and prompted my surgeon to his discovery of this tumour.”

He said he does not plan to resume speaking, which is one of his three loves “at least until the summer” – a significant extension of the previously-announced eight-week break.

An RZIM Facebook post today (March 26) wished Dr Zacharias a happy birthday and honoured him for being “a steadfast example”.

“He shows us how to love and serve our families and fellow human beings, he continually reminds us to prioritize prayer and the study of Scripture, and he demonstrates the joy and confidence that come from a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus.

“We also enjoy how much Ravi loves following the sport of cricket and frequenting Waffle House whenever he has the opportunity!” read the post.

An audience of One

It was only four months ago in November 2019 that Dr Zacharias had handed over the reins of RZIM leadership to Michael Ramsden as President and Sarah Davis as Global CEO.

The organisation is still forging ahead with its plans.

“God has blessed RZIM with what Ravi has repeatedly called ‘a deep bench’,” Ms Malhotra said, adding that RZIM’s team includes nearly 100 speakers who are deployed all over the world at any given moment. 

“In a world where so much seems to be changing daily, I am grateful we serve a God who is unchanging.”

“Our speaking team has risen to the challenge by stepping in for Ravi on key speaking engagements since he underwent emergency back surgery last month. Our plan going forward is to tap into that deep bench and offer speakers to step in for Ravi until he’s recovered and ready to resume travel, hopefully by this summer.

“We believe God has prepared our ministry for such a time as this – when hope-filled voices are needed in culture – even as one of our strongest voices is temporarily sidelined.

“God is good and He is faithful in every season, and we cling to that reality even as we recognise that there are challenging days ahead.

“We ask you to continue to stand with us in prayer. Ravi and Margie continually demonstrate remarkable trust in our Saviour and joyfully point countless others to the reason for our hope, and we are confident that God will sustain them during this season and use their example to point many to His life-giving truth.”

“RZIM has always been about an audience of One and the call He gave us – to lift high the name of Jesus.”

Ms Davis added: “I am thankful that RZIM is continuing our global work, even as we navigate my dad’s diagnosis as well as the COVID-19 crisis.

“In our strategic planning process earlier this year, as our leadership prayerfully sought the mind of God, we believed God was leading us to make digital transformation a priority for our global ministry.

“The current situation presents us with an opportunity to move forward with creativity and excellence as we utilise new avenues for sharing the beauty and credibility of the Gospel message. 

“In a world where so much seems to be changing daily, I am grateful we serve a God who is unchanging.

“RZIM has always been about an audience of One and the call He gave us – to lift high the name of Jesus so others may know Him. My prayer for our team is that in the face of worldwide uncertainty and personal challenge, we will seek the face of God and reflect His light to the world.”

 

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias steps down from ministry leadership after 35 years

 

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias reveals rare cancer diagnosis, requests prayer

 

 

About the author

Gracia Lee & Tan Huey Ying

Gracia and Huey Ying are writers for Salt&Light, an independent, non-profit Christian news and devotional website with a passion for kingdom unity, and a vision of inspiring faith to arise in the marketplace.