In summer 2014, I was in Seoul working in a laboratory while doing my final project (thesis). My interest in apologetics, in addition to research interest in clean energy, has grown ever since, leading me to do another “research” about Christianity and Islam. During those times, I often spent times watching series of testimonies on YouTube. One of the most fascinating figures I found was Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim Christian apologist, who has now become the world’s most prominent figure with respect to the Christian versus Islamic worldview. Believe it or not? (Try to use the words “a former Muslim Christian apologist” in Google and you will be directed to Nabeel’s profile in Wikipedia on the first page)
Since he was diagnosed with stomach cancer on August 2016, I regularly watched his vlog on YouTube, wondering about the progress of his health. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of people all over the world have been actively praying for him and his family since then (especially for his healing). However, the Lord seemingly has another plan. September 16, 2017 was the end of his life on earth yet the beginning of his life in the eternal and glorious home with the Lord Jesus, the true love of his soul.
I don’t know Nabeel personally, but his ministry has been a tremendous impact for me. I have read two of his books, Seeking Allah Finding Jesus and Answering Jihad, which, I believe, would be valuable resources for any truth seeker. As we live in the age of internet and information technology, we all know that finding the true and accurate information is easier now than it has ever been. For those of you who are interested in seeking the truth about God from the perspective of Christian in comparison to Islam, I would suggest you another great resources, which have been carefully worked by Nabeel’s best friend, David Wood.
Here, I would like to share with you, at least, but not limited to, three spiritual blessings I have received from Nabeel’s life and ministry, together with the references from the Scripture.
1. Death is not the end of human existence
Some people might have been wondering about the reason of Nabeel’s death. There would certainly be a lot of speculation on this matter. To me, the most unsurprising one would be due to his conversion from his former faith, as if his death was a God’s punishment. (It is quite understandable that people tend to find the “cause-effect” relationship, trying to rationalize everything that matters. But, I believe that we can’t, and don’t have to, explain and have the answer for everything). To this type of reasoning, I would ask, “What if God actually loved Nabeel so much that He was willing to bring him back to Him forever in the heavenly home?”.
As long as our concern is merely about earthly life and the worldly pleasures, we might think that Nabeel’s short life was quite unfortunate. (Had he lived longer, he could taste more delicious food, visit more beautiful places, and do more enjoyable activities). However, I believe death is not the end of our existence and the ultimate joy is not meant for our temporary-and-fragile life here. If they were so, how pitiful are the morally good people who died at the early ages, innocent children or kids who were killed in a war or accident or natural disasters, people who were dead by injustice and crimes, etc. Should they all have died in vain and lived meaninglessly? How can we explain all these things?
What if death is just the beginning of our eternal life? What if the separation from our mortal body leads to the unification of our soul and spirit with the brand-new immortal body? What if the beauty of life and all the wonderful-yet-perishable things here on earth is just nothing compared to the eternally wonderful things the Lord has prepared for us on the other side? What if death means “rest in peace” while life means “restless in pain”? What if death is not a curse, but a blessing? What if death is good, not evil? If death is evil, why would a good Creator allow it to be the inevitable part in the life of all creatures? And if death is good, like Paul says in Philippians 1:21, why would you still have a fear of death? Indeed, death can be good or bad, depending on where (heaven or hell) and with whom (the loved ones or the enemies) you will spend the eternity. I believe, just as Nabeel does, the gift of everlasting life has been given to those who believe in, and therefore have been saved by, Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord. Because of his faith in Jesus, Nabeel fears neither death nor evil.
So, could it be the time to change our mindset and how we perceive the matters of life and death? Could it be the right moment to focus on what matters most, i.e. the unseen things with eternal values (such as faith, hope, and love) beyond the seen things (such as the worldly riches, fame, and fleshly pleasures) which are momentary?
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13, NLT)
2. The sovereignty of God over all things
There are so many things we don’t know and many stories we can’t understand in life. Have you ever seen the wicked people outlived the good people? Have you been familiar with the corrupted leaders who are getting richer while the innocent people are living in poverty? Life often seems so frustrating and unfair that we might consider escaping the reality (read: suicide) as the better solution. Is there really a true measure of success while we live in this broken world? We are all clueless, without definite answers.
Had Nabeel lived longer, imagine how many memorable moments he could make with his wife (Michelle) and daughter (Ayah), how many more inspiring books he could write, and how much greater impact he could have. Again, God’s will is not like ours. Our spirit, soul, and body belong to Him, He gives and could take away anytime He wants. Now we can see why we should always leave a room for the God’s mystery in our theology. It is God’s privilege, in all His majesty and wonders, to conceal a matter (Proverbs 25:2).
At the end of the day, we can only trust that His plans are far better than ours and He is still good no matter what. By this way, our faith in Him will grow stronger and we will always have hope in life. The just shall live by faith and surrendering our life to God is the most rewarding posture we could ever take which would result in the most relieving feeling we could ever have. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Sovereign Lord – abide in Him all times, and find our total confidence in Christ alone.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)
3. Faithfulness of God’s servant, even to the point of death
Regardless of what our job title is, we all have one specific role in life: to serve. I believe that we are all servants towards others. I’ve shared about this in my previous post last year. Whether you are a custodian, a teacher, or even a president, you have the same responsibilities of doing a good service for others.
Now, have you seen any person willing to die for what he/she believes? I am asking to myself, “Are you willing to die for your chemical engineering knowledge?” and probably you could also ask yourselves, “Am I willing to die for what I am doing and I believe now?” Some people were born with such incredible gifts or talents to become, for example, the world-class singers, the world-renowned musicians, the world’s greatest football players, etc. You may be wondering if they are also willing to die for their passions. Have you found the truth (or the love of your life) that is worth dying for?
Here we can see the distinguished life of Nabeel. Just like Paul, he has considered everything else is worthless when compared with the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8). Nabeel has been willing to die for knowing Christ and proclaiming His truth despite the struggles with his dearly beloved parents, in addition to the challenges from people who had mocked him blatantly. He knew that life on earth is temporal and things are perishable. He is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done for him. Heaven is a far better place where he can be forever with the Father in the everlasting peace, love, and joy. I wonder if the Lord has said to Nabeel, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Master!”
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. (Psalm 116:15, NIV)
In the following video you can see Nabeel’s statement of faith and hope in eternal life. Hope you will be tremendously blessed!
First draft written by September 18, 2017 and finalized by October 6, 2017 in Vancouver