03-16-2005, 04:02 AM #1
The Hound of Heaven, He fled me down.
The matter of God’s existence and life’s meaning must be settled by each of us. Thankfully, there are roadsigns as we head on this journey.
Atheists, in the name of reason, make many illogical leaps. They must somehow make sense out of a random first cause, express meaningfully all meaninglessness, and then end up making moral denunciations while denying that any moral order actually exists—to say nothing of trying to find security, while telling us that life’s destiny is oblivion.
After fighting in this kind of battle for meaning, the great British scholar C.S. Lewis turned from the irrationality of atheism to the coherence of theism. Jesus conquered the mind of Lewis. Listen to how he words it in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy:
I had always wanted above all things, not to be ‘interfered with.’ I had wanted ‘to call my soul my own.’ I had been far more anxious to avoid suffering than to achieve delight....You must picture me alone in [my] room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, when ever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The prodigal son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape? The words ‘compelle intrare,’ compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but properly understood, they plumb the depth of the divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and his compulsion is our liberation.
Lewis said that he was “kicking and struggling” because he saw Christianity as something to be shunned. He was “resentful” because he had fought with great philosophical might. Yet, ultimately, Lewis was “surprised by joy” because for the first time his life was brought into focus. Friends, true joy is such a rare thing these days, but that is exactly what God has offered to us in Jesus. Rather than allowing ourselves to be hardened by cynicism and resentment, let us also find ourselves “surprised by joy,” His joy.
03-16-2005, 04:04 AM #2
That was written by Ravi Zacharias.
Ravi is a giant in the intellectual community.
Ravi Zacharias has spoken in over fifty countries, including the Middle East, Vietnam and Cambodia (during the military conflict) and in numerous universities worldwide, notably Harvard, Princeton and Oxford University. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, President Fujimori's cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. He has been privileged to bring the main address at the National Day of Prayer in Washington, DC, an event endorsed and cohosted by President George W. Bush, and at the Pentagon. As well, Mr. Zacharias has spoken at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York, which marks the beginning of the UN session each year, and in 2003, at the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he will address the delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders, being held in Mozambique.
Mr. Zacharias was born in India in 1946 and immigrated to Canada with his family twenty years later. While pursuing a career in business management, his interest in theology grew; subsequently, he pursued this study during his undergraduate education. He received his Masters of Divinity from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Well-versed in the disciplines of comparative religions, cults and philosophy, he held the chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at ******** Theological Seminary for three and a half years. Mr. Zacharias has been honored by the conferring of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Houghton College, a Doctor of Laws degree from Asbury College and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Tyndale College and Seminary, Toronto.
At the invitation of Billy Graham, he was a plenary speaker at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983, 1986 and 2000. Mr. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, where he studied moralist philosophers and literature of the Romantic era. While at Cambridge he also authored his first book, A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism (Baker Book House, 1994, 2nd ed.). His second book, Can Man Live without God (Word Publishing, 1994), was awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology, and has been translated into eight languages. Deliver Us from Evil (Word, 1996) followed with an accompanying video series. Cries of the Heart (Word, 1998) was his fourth book. His first children's book, The Merchant and the Thief (Chariot Victor), was released in 1999, followed by The Broken Promise (Chariot Victor, 2000). Jesus Among Other Gods (Word, 2000) was nominated for a Gold Medallion. The first in a series of great conversations, The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha was released by Multnomah in October 2001, and the second, Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks with Oscar Wilde, in October 2002. Mr. Zacharias's very personal response to the September 11th tragedy is Light in the Shadow of Jihad, (Multnomah, 2002). Recapture the Wonder was released by Integrity Publishers in July 2003 and I, Isaac Take You, Rebekah, a book on marriage, will be made available in the Winter of 2004 by the W Publishing Group.
Mr. Zacharias is listed as a distinguished lecturer with the Staley Foundation. His weekly radio program, "Let My People Think," is broadcast over 1000 stations worldwide, and he has appeared on CNN and other international broadcasts. He is president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Mr. Zacharias and his wife, Margaret, have three grown children; Sarah, who is married to Jeremy, Naomi, and Nathan. They reside in Atlanta.
03-16-2005, 04:12 AM #3
I believe an Englishman named Frances Thompson penned one of the most profound poems ever written. Thompson was a genius, but he became a drug addict and was on the run for many years of his life. Towards the later part of his life he wrote that magnificent masterpiece he called "The Hound of Heaven." The poem describes God as a persistent hound who, with loving feet, follows and follows until he catches up with this person who is trying to run and flee from him. He writes,
"I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after."
As the poem comes to an end, Thompson depicts the persistent cry of God to the one who flees his presence, the one He pursues to the end:
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."
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