Young adults from all 50 states, 51 countries and more than 1,600 universities gathered across three locations in Atlanta (Infinite Energy Arena and Philips Arena) and Houston (Toyota Center) for the annual Passion Conference on January 2-4. Special musical guests included Rend Collective, Hillsong UNITED and surprise performers KB, Trip Lee and Tedashii, while students heard from renowned speakers Louie Giglio, John Piper, Christine Caine, Ravi Zacharias and Levi Lusko.
Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias, in his message at the conference, tells his testimony of how he came to know Christ. While he was in India, Zacharias felt that life had lost its meaning and committed suicide. He was an atheist until the age of 17 when he tried to commit suicide by swallowing poison.
While in the hospital, a local Christian worker brought him a Bible and told his mother to read to him from John 14. Zacharias says that it was John 14:19 that touched him and meant to him as the defining paradigm: "Because I live, you also will live." He said that he thought, "This may be my only hope: A new way of living. Life as defined by the Author of Life."
While he was in a hospital bed when he also listened to Ed Ames' song, "Who will answer," on Radio Cylon. Ames is best known for his pop hits of the 1960s including "My Cup Runneth Over", "Who Will Answer?" and "When the Snow is on the Roses". He was part of a popular 1950s singing group called the Ames Brothers.
At the Passion Conference, Zacharias recited the lyrics of the song: "From the canyons of the mind, / We wander on and stumble blindly / Through the often-tangled maze / Of starless nights and sunless days, / While asking for some kind of clue / Or road to lead us to the truth, / But who will answer?
"Side by side two people stand,/ Together vowing, hand-in-hand / That love's imbedded in their hearts, / But soon an empty feeling starts / To overwhelm their hollow lives, / And when they seek the hows and whys, / Who will answer?
"On a strange and distant hill, / A young man's lying very still. His arms will never hold his child, / Because a bullet running wild / Has struck him down. And now we cry, "Dear God, Oh, why, oh, why?" / But who will answer?
"High upon a lonely ledge, / a figure teeters near the edge, / And jeering crowds collect below / To egg him on with, "Go, man, go!" But who will ask what led him / To his private day of doom, / And who will answer?
"... Is our hope in walnut shells / Worn 'round the neck with temple bells, / Or deep within some cloistered walls / Where hooded figures pray in halls? Or crumbled books on dusty shelves, / Or in our stars, or in ourselves, / Who will answer?
"If the soul is darkened / By a fear it cannot name, / If the mind is baffled / When the rules don't fit the game, Who will answer? Who will answer? Who will answer?"
Zacharias felt that the song's questions resonate with his meaninglessness then, which made him turned to the Bible, and prayed to Jesus.