On the 16th of September 2017, I saw tweets of the news that a man – who’s story greatly impacted my faith – had passed after a long battle with cancer. Nabeel Qureshi (1983 – 2017) wrote Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus which details his conversion to Christianity from Islam. I highly recommend buying and reading it. I read it when I first got saved and it greatly changed my outlook on faith and encouraged me to get into apologetics.
Nabeel died aged 34. He was young. But he had done so much for the Kingdom of God. Travelling to multiple countries sharing his testimony, debating with many scholars on Christianity and just being a devoted follower of Christ. He lived a life glorifying God. He was such an inspiration to me. Everything in his life that he had done and everything that had happened to him (good and bad) was all for the glory of God. Even in his death, God is still going to be glorified because of what he had left behind. He did what God had called him to do and he did it well. This to me, is real goals.
I wish to live a life clinging onto Christ, recklessly abandoning my own life for His. Meeting people and impacting them with the love of Christ and my own story. I want to see His purposes reign in my life, and not my own. I just want to live for Christ.
But if Nabeel lived a life serving the Lord, then how comes he died battling cancer? Did God give him cancer to test his faith or to punish him for being a muslim? Beloved, hear me when I say, I do not know. What I do know is that these bodies will have will fail us at some point. I do not believe for even one second that God strikes someone down with sickness because of ‘sin’. But because sin has entered creation, our bodies will not last as long as it did in Genesis. I believe Nabeel is in Paradise with Christ, enjoying his new body – perfect and reflecting the radiance of Christ.
His story reminds me of Lazarus. Lazarus’ story can be found in John 11. Jesus loved Lazarus (verse 5) but wasn’t there to heal Lazarus from his sickness before he died. Word was sent from Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, to Jesus that Lazarus was sick and they desperately wanted Jesus to come and heal him. But Jesus refused, staying where he was (he was in another town) but said “Lazarus’ sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” Everyone who heard this must have been confused and understandably so. I mean, how is Lazarus not going to die, if Jesus isn’t there? How and why is this for the glory of God? Lazarus eventually dies and Jesus comes through FOUR DAYS LATER. Jesus does the miraculous and resurrects Lazarus from the grave. To the shock of the people present, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, walked out of his own grave in response to the calling of Christ.
But Nabeel didn’t rise again. Many of us believed that God would heal him and he’d be back on his feet sharing his testimony. But He didn’t. It seems like cancer won. Yet, Nabeel’s sickness did not end in death. Nabeel is alive with Christ right now. He is the God of the living and not the dead, after all. Death is merely an entrance to the next life. Death isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. Like Lazarus, Nabeel’s sickness happened for the glory of God. I can only believe and trust in the sovereignty of God when I say that. God knows the end. I don’t.
I put my hope and trust in the One who creates life and sustains it. I put my hope and trust in the One, who’s ways are higher than mine, who’s thoughts are above mine.
Beloved, though things may not go as you expected it to, trust that it is all for the glory of God. Even when we don’t understand it.
Read more about Nabeel Qureshi here x