Blog #46 – Why Didn’t God Heal Nabeel Qureshi?

By John Cline
On February 11th, 2014 a “once-in-a-decade” book hit the Christian bookshelves. “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity” had an immediate immense impact upon the world. Thousands of Muslims have been influenced to turn to Christ as a result while untold tens of thousands of Christians have been inspired to dig more deeply into their knowledge of Islam and of their own faith. “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” became a best-seller on the New York Times Bestsellers’ list and was turned into a widely-viewed 8-part DVD series. Many people in our congregation have read this book, including me, and, I must be honest, I found it one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
In his book, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi’s inner turmoil leads to a powerful the clash between Islam and Christianity in that one man’s heart—and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus. An instant superstar in the Christian world, Dr. Nabeel Qureshi joined the Ravi Zacharias ministry team and became a champion debater and evangelist for Jesus. His humble faith, brilliant mind, and charming personality quickly made him one of Christianity’s most admired speakers. All this in two years. And, then last week Nabeel Quereshi shocked the world by announcing that he had inoperable stomach cancer. Despite the fervent prayers of hundreds of thousands of Christians, pleading for God’s healing, two weeks ago Dr. Nabeel Quereshi died, only thirty-four years of age.
Nabeel Quereshi himself said, “All suffering is worth it to follow Jesus. He is that amazing.” But, still those of us who knew him, or his works, are all still reeling from his death and so the question must be asked, why didn’t God heal Nabeel Qureshi? With so many faith-filled men and women of God asking for his healing, why did he die of cancer at such a young age? Point of fact, this is more the issue. It is not that Nabeel Qureshi died – we all will die at some point – but why did God take him at such an early age and why didn’t the Lord heal him when so many were praying, asking for it to be so. What purpose could God have for allowing Nabeel to die?
Frank Turek, writing on “The Stream” website, says this: In answering that question, we need to admit that there can be no ultimate purpose to Nabeel’s death (or any event) if there is no purpose to life. But since God does exist, and the purpose of life is to be reconciled with Him though His son, Jesus, then even tragedies can help achieve that purpose. Perhaps more people will come to know Christ because of Nabeel’s death. It’s impossible for us to know the extent of that right now, but it’s not impossible for God.
We can’t see it fully because every event, good and bad, ripples forward into the future to touch countless other events and people. This ripple effect is also known as the butterfly effect. The idea is that a butterfly flapping its wings in South Africa, for example, could ultimately bring rain to a drought stricken portion of the United States. We can’t trace all of those ripples, but an all powerful God who is outside of time can. In fact, there have been billions of events in history, both good and bad, that helped make you who you are and helped put you where you are.
So we don’t know why God didn’t heal Nabeel, but we know why we don’t know. We’re finite and God is infinite. The good news is God’s character and power guarantees that He will bring good from evil “to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). That may happen later in this life. It certainly will spill over into eternal life.
The ripple effect led Jacques Marie Louis Monsabré, a former pastor at Notre Dame in Paris, to trust God even when he couldn’t see any good coming from evil. He said: “If God would concede me His omnipotence for 24 hours, you would see how many changes I would make in the world. But if He gave me His wisdom too, I would leave things as they are.” Indeed, God will redeem Nabeel’s death for good like he redeemed Nabeel himself. While we grieve let us be thankful for Nabeel’s eternally significant life. He did more for the Kingdom of God in 34 years than ten thousand people do in 80. And the ripples he created — waves really — will help carry people into Heaven for generations.
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