Writer Philip Yancey tells of his experience playing chess against a master player. He explains his rapid realization that no matter what move he made, no matter what strategy he chose, the master seemed to turn his play around to serve his own purposes. As I look back upon my life, it is so evident that the Master, that Hound of Heaven, has been on my trail, working all things out for God’s own ends—God’s own good and perfect ends, I might add.
In studying when the gospel first made inroads into my lineage, I have found that on both sides of my family, the first believers came from the highest cast of the Hindu priesthood six generations ago. The first Christian was a woman. She was interested in the message brought by missionaries, in spite of her family’s terrible displeasure. One day as she was about to leave the missionary compound in order to return home before her family found out, the doors of the compound were shut because of a cholera epidemic. Remaining with the missionaries until the time of the quarantine was past, she committed her life to God. Threat of disease and the walls of a closed compound were the freeing means of her coming to Christ.
Readers of English poetry will recall the turbulent life of Francis Thompson. His father wanted him to study at Oxford, but Francis lost his way in drugs and failed to make the grade time and again. This was a slumbering genius, if only his life could be rescued. When Francis finally succumbed to the pursuing Christ, he penned his immortal “Hound of Heaven”:
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 mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
Down titanic glooms of chasmed fears
From those strong feet that followed, that followed after.
For though I knew His love that followed
Yet I was sore adread
Lest having Him I have naught else beside.
And he ends:
Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me.
I am utterly convinced that neither walls nor unfortunate mishaps nor poor decisions can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Perhaps you have noticed footprints of one following closely across your own life. Will you follow them?
Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.