Nabeel, faith and noes.

Nabeel Qureshi was a most educated youth minister.  Most never attend med school, maintain the years of A’s it takes to get and stay there, and they don’t face proliferating possibilities like Nabeel faced.  He wrestled to be a doc on three continents, to retell his conversion from Islam on six continents, and encourage this newest generation’s dreams.

I suggested he write a book.  To keep it simple.  To reveal his story as a form other Muslims could follow simply.  Not easily, but distilling complex questions into simple steps Nabeel took to follow God, Allah, he thought.

He grew into a warrior.  I watched postings to YouTube and the web and laughed aloud, “Be the first on your block to merit your very own fatwah!”

Then Nabeel was married, having a beautiful child and dying of stomach cancer as Muslims cheered wildly at life’s cruel judgment.  I prayed God to heal him.  I posted one such prayer to this blog.

God said, “No.”

People apologize for God, and bend the light on the matter saying, “God healed him, He just healed Nabeel by taking him to heaven.”  Touching sentiment.  God said, “No” to healing Nabeel and extending his impact here.  Nabeel died.

How does faith look after that?  For Nabeel, watch his haunting YouTubes on our hope in Christ out of this world into the next.  Beautiful.  Courageous.  Faith-filled.  Watch them.

For me it’s a gut kick.  Worse than watching your college team get man handled by a 3A high school squad.  Having been injured to the point of dying, I know that if I choose who prays for me, I want them praying for me like I’d pray for me to live.  If you hide behind, “whatever is Your Will, Father” in some non-invested theologically secure place, then save your breath.  No one knows if those prayers get answered.

Yes.  It’s harder to pray like cheering for your team, like cheering for mom if she’s sick.  Yes, the let downs are harder, but prayers uttered in wildly cheering faith is what I hope for if it is me, my child, my wife.  Those answers stiffen your prayers for decades.  Will you ride with me?

When we get off, finally, on the other side, I’ll introduce you to Nabeel.  He cheers from the other side now, see?

 

Nabeel, wish you were here

I am the bull pen this weekend.  Rachel Reon hoped to have Nabeel Qureshi do her wedding.  Not many girls can access med school graduates who get hired by Ravi Zacharias as apologetic powerhouses in the face of Muslims who hate him for leaving the faith.  And speaking so well against it.

I am filling in as Nabeel has been in the hospital at MD Anderson for 22 days straight.  Muslims rejoice to point to his stomach cancer as Allah’s judgment, and the doctors pulled him into emergency surgery, again, a few hours ago.

Nabeel, I will perform Rachel and Aaron’s wedding  tomorrow, while you remind us of what’s truest in Christianity.  As you skirt the abyss of death with thousands of people who hate you cheering for your demise, we will see Rachel and Aaron married.  Ever since that first Easter Sunday, out of stunning sadness, and out of the mouth of over-awing defeat God in Christ has snatched victory, snatched hope, and stolen joy for us over, and over, and over again.

So we pray for your healing, continually ask for healing.  We owe you that.  We owe Christ that.  We owe you both the asking when it seems o’erwhelmingly hopeless.  We owe you and Christ the asking for healing especially as your enemies are set for revelry.

And if God relents and lets you expend your last breath praising Him, then we owe Christ and you and your enemies clear testimony.  Beyond fatalism for Allah’s will, Christians dwell in a divergent land of hope inside Jehovah’s sovereign, best choices for us.  We ask, and when He heals you, we praise Him.  We ask, and if He deigns to take you, we mourn and still praise Him.

When you get out of the hospital, promise me a photo with a smarmy script saying “because we asked!” or something else mushy.  Wish you were here to do the ceremony, praying, hoping against hope, cheering for you.

Rachel, by the way, will be amazing, in part, due to your investing in her.  Get well.