When speaker, author and apologist Nabeel Qureshi announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer, I felt compelled to write about it as soon as I had read it. You can read my blog post here: Nabeel Qureshi’s Cancer Diagnosis – A Morning Reflection.
On Saturday September 16th 2017, Nabeel went to be with the One he loved – Jesus Christ, who he saw as Saviour and Lord until his last breath. There is nothing that I can write that will compare to the loving words written from those that knew and loved Nabeel. There have been many touching tributes which I will share below.
Nonetheless, Nabeel’s unwavering faith, courage and gentleness throughout his life to the very end has struck a chord within me. His example is a challenge to me to engage more openly with others about the good news found in knowing Jesus. I want my actions to reflect my heart towards God, but more importantly His love towards me and the rest of the world.
Nabeel’s death also brings its own questions. Questions about unanswered prayer. Questions about suffering. I don’t need to look too far to see the devastation caused by the two recent earthquakes in Mexico or the endless hurricanes that are trailing around the Caribbean and the USA. Whilst I grapple with such questions at this time, once again I find myself inspired by the words of Nabeel himself as he spoke of suffering:
If you haven’t listened to the 3 minute video above, you are missing the concise, excellent words of Nabeel’s own thoughts on his death and suffering in a wider context.
So often I resort to keeping my faith to myself when I am around those who do not believe in the Christian message. Unless I am blogging. Even though there is purpose in my blog posts, I still feel that the screen shields me from the wider world. Yet, I mustn’t keep quiet. To say nothing at all about Jesus to others is a tragedy.
In an article, Nabeel shared a memory of how a girl in his school asked him “Do you know about Jesus?” This is what he thought:
‘I remember one time in high school when I was still a staunch defender of Islam. Betsy, an outspoken Christian in our school, cared enough to ask me a question. She had a soft yet adamant demeanour, which made the rest of us feel uneasy. She asked me a simple question, “Do you know about Jesus?” At the time I remember thinking, “Betsy is crazy.” We were in the middle of Latin class! All the same, I immediately gained respect for her. Why had the other Christians never asked me what I thought of Jesus? They thought I needed Jesus to go to heaven, right? Were they content with letting me go to Hell, or did they not really believe their faith? Her question meant she believed, and she cared whether I believed.’ (emphasis added)
This massively challenges me.
Yes, he thought Betsy was crazy for asking him that, but he respected her because she cared enough about Nabeel to ask him the question. Do I really believe my own faith? Do I care if I never let others know about the need to repent for their sin and accept the forgiveness that is found in Jesus and His work on the cross? Do I not tell them that there is hope in the midst of suffering and evil? If I do, I should be a little bit more like Betsy.
‘The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ 2 Peter 3:9
‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.’ John 3:17
I take comfort knowing that Nabeel is now at peace with his Saviour and Lord. Nabeel’s life touched so many people across the world and he has left a legacy summarised so beautifully by many in the following tributes. As a Christian, may I go forward with the same message that Nabeel passionately proclaimed all the days of my life. Even if I look crazy. I may never know who I end up speaking to and the impact it could have later on.
- Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017) – The Gospel Coalition
- Deep Loss, Heavy Hearts: The Passing of Nabeel Qureshi by Ravi Zacharias
- Ravi Zacharias Remembers His Young Protégé, Nabeel Qureshi – Christianity Today
- Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi dies at 34 – Premier News
- Why this Muslim-turned-Christian speaker resonated with so many before his death at 34 – The Washington Post