a passing might just be moving on

“He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.
Dostoevsky said once,
‘There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings’.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

It was just little over a week ago that I shared the latest news on our
friend Nabeel Qureshi and his fight against the aggressive form of stomach
cancer that was gaining an upper hand.

Sadly Nabeel’s battle ended Saturday.

Nabeel was only 34 years old.
A loving husband and father, a Christian convert from Islam,
as well as an ardent Christian Apologist.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I first stumbled upon Nabeel and his no holds
barred, unapologetic, unwavering proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

At the time I found Nabeel, I was writing a brief post about the Trinity, and during my gathering of information, I found a video clip of a presentation Nabeel had delivered at Wayne St. University about the Oneness, or Tawhid, of God.

Our friend the good Scottish pastor David Robertson offered this about Nabeel
in his Monday posting of the Wee Flea…

LED 9 – Nabeel Quershi – Death of the Church in UK? – Scottish Parliament ‘debates’ Christianity – Jacob Rees-Mogg – George Osbourne and the Death of Thersea May – The Other Side of the Rainbow – The McCain version of “Family”

Death of Nabeel Qureshi –

Possibly the most well known Muslim convert to Christianity, Nabeel Quershi has died aged 34 after a long battle with cancer. You can read his story here – with some wonderful interviews – https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2017/09/16/nabeel-qureshi-1983-2017/

“In the past few days my spirits have soared and sank as I pursue the Lord’s will and consider what the future might look like, but never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God. . . .”

I have been nearly consumed these last few months with my own small world’s
battle with both passings and death…all up close and quite personal.
And I doubt that any of us ever grow immune to our own body’s and
spirit’s reactions to such traumatic events.
As countless numbers of books have long been written regarding the
stages and emotions associated with both loss and grief.

Even watching last night’s airing of America’s Got Talent (no football was on),
I was reminded of our constant living balance with grief.

The 13 year old singing contestant Evie Clair, from a tiny town in Arizona,
whose father had been battling stomach cancer throughout most the show’s season….
He was a dad who had been in attendance throughout his daughter’s performances and
was noticeably absent the past two weeks.
Her dad actually lost his battle about the same time Nabeel had lost his.

Yet this brave little girl continued on with her final performance Tuesday night,
as I’m certain her father had encouraged her to do no matter what his
outcome may be.

So when I saw Nabeel’s final video posting from his hospital bed, as he shared
that his doctors had finally called off all treatment as now palliative care
was being called in, Nabeel still spoke of healing and miracles.

Now the smug and jaded among us, those non believers,
those cynical ones who would see and hear a dying man
speaking of miracles and healing from his death bed…
or who would watch a grieving 13 year old young girl sing a song of hope while
standing in the face of death all in front of millions of viewers, would write such
off as merely being pitiful, misguided, lost or even foolish.

Yet as I mulled over Nabeel’s last video clip…
as I wrestled with the sorrow and sadness of his image in his hospital bed…
as I heard him wrestle with a battle now seemingly ending despite
his best efforts to battle on….
as I turned it and his words over and over in my mind—
those words of a continued and constant prayer and belief in healings and miracles…
I had a shift of thinking.

We earthbound pray for earthly miracles.
We long for these miracles.
We don’t want those we know and love to hurt, to suffer or to leave us here–alone.
We can’t bear imagining a life without those we love and cherish.
Our roles no longer being what they were.
Our earthly identities now shifted and skewed.
It is often more than any of us can bear….

And so we pray, we pray earnestly and fervently…
we implore, we plead, we cry and we beg….
Yet when all of that energy and hopefulness is still met by suffering and or Death,
we do one of two things…
we accept or we reject…

And if we opt for rejecting…we are most often consumed by anger and rage at
this unseen God who we have been imploring and pleading with…..

But what if, what if the prayers of the healing and of the miracles are actually
more than asking for a loved one to remain earth bound…
What if our prayers are really for the healing and the miracle of being Heaven bound?
That our prayers for miraculous healing are really not for remaining here but rather
for those we love to be prayed Homeward…..
in that the passing away on Earth is really the miracle of moving forward?

I think they call that a paradigm shift….

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 25:6-8

37 comments on “a passing might just be moving on

  1. Melissa Presser, Lover of Jesus says:

    This is genius Julie and I am crying. I have never heard of him before. Going to watch some videos on this day of the New Year!

  2. Amen,Julie.

    Letting go is hard. I had some dear friends who moved away and I didn’t want them to go,but the Lord spoke to me so clearly, “this is my will, this is what’s best for them.” Myself, I was not happy, I wanted them around,but at the same time I could see the big picture,the huge benefit for them,the Lord’s will at work in the world, the miracle going on behind the scenes. I realized death is a bit like that,our own grief,loss, and awareness about how this is going to impact us personally, takes precedence and it’s really hard to rejoice their good fortune.

    I still haven’t figured out why so many good people seem to die so young and yet the really rotten ones seem to live forever. I’ll ask God about that some day.

    • I know IB—I’m a fine one to write about paradigm shifts especially when it comes to prayers for healing and miracles….Lord knows, literally knows, how I have pounded on the gates only to be met by silence….or the silence of what I perceived as silence.
      I have wailed and riled against still meeting Death rather than the healing or the miracle…
      I have lived with and wrestled with the aftermath—my aftermath—the aftermath of me picking up the pieces…but the day I watched Nabeel’s last video post from the hospital, as I heard him still professing his hope yet also saw in his eyes his own doubts and how he was wrestling with what the inevitable was really looking like… I got to thinking…I thought about this ardent young man who has so much to live for—a young wife, a young child, a courageous ministry—things that all seemed so terribly important…and yet, he was obviously dying….
      and I thought about that most of the afternoon. I don’t even know Nabeel personally but the empathy in my heart had gone out to him and his family—maybe because I lost my own mom when I still needed her, also to cancer….and as I walked up to the mailbox that afternoon to get the mail, still pondering and wrestling myself over the notion of our prayers and the miracles and the healing happening for some and not for others—it hit me like a ton of bricks—wonder if the prayers were answered despite us thinking otherwise…wonder if the miracle was really Nabeel going Home—to where he really was healed and made whole???
      Of course that still isn’t consolation to us left here, remaining empty and alone…unless our mindset is changed…
      So yeah, I’ve got a ways to go….

      • A while back our pastor began dying of terminal cancer.

        But he didn’t tell anyone he was going to die.

        Nevertheless, he went through all sorts of experimental and excruciatingly painful chemotherapy.

        It “cure” was so toxic that the doctors wore hazmat suits when they administered it to the pastor through a plug that had been sewn into his chest.

        I prayed fervently for weeks like a dummy, with full faith that all would be well.

        When the good pastor up and died, yes, I was pissed.

        My prayer is all about me, don’t you know.

      • That is so true dear friend– our prayers are certainly laced with ourselves!

  3. Melissa Presser, Lover of Jesus says:

    Julie they are streaming his funeral service live at 11 am eastern standard time!
    http://rzim.org/live/

  4. […] For those of you that have read Julie’s blog post today on Nabeel over at cookiecrumblestoliveby, […]

  5. atimetoshare.me says:

    This has been a year of saying goodbye for you as well as me. We’ve both faced death head on and relinquished our hold on those we loved. Time will heal our hearts, but the knowledge that they are with their Savior in heaven will maintain us through the rest of our lives. I find myself wondering why I’m still here. Why did God choose these precious people to go to heaven so young. I know he still has a reason for me being here, but sometimes I wish it would finally end.

  6. oneta hayes says:

    Since I have stared death in the face and lived, people sometimes say to me, “God still has a work for you to do.” That may be true, but I think he still wanted to do a work in me. He is more concerned with who I am than what I do. Generally who I am determines what I do, but only the potter knows when he has completed his work whether at age 28, 78, or 98. I’m 83 and I don’t know whether I am half-baked yet!

  7. phyllissnipes says:

    Keep hearing the words to the song “Blessed be the Name.”

    Blessed be Your name.
    When the sun’s shining down on me
    When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
    Blessed be Your name.

    Blessed be Your name.
    On the road marked with suffering
    Though there’s pain in the offering
    Blessed be Your name.

    Every blessing You pour out I’ll
    Turn back to praise,
    When the darkness closes in, Lord
    STILL I will say,
    Blessed be the name of the Lord
    Blessed be Your name.

  8. Citizen Tom says:

    Thank you for your post. I thoroughly “enjoyed” it. Nabeel Qureshi’s death is, of course, something we cannot help regretting. If that video is an example of his work, he must have been quite a teacher. Anyway, when God calls us home, it is because that is where He wants us. As King Hezekiah demonstrated, it is best to accept His will.

  9. SLIMJIM says:

    He died too quick but I’m encouraged to see how many people he’s impacted.

  10. Wyldkat says:

    During the two years that Russ battled cancer my prayers were for him and his wife to have strength. Strength to deal with the cancer, to accept the result, whatever it was, and in the end, to deal with … well, the end.

    I knew that if the answer was “Sorry, daughter, not this time”, no amount of pleading would change the answer.

    Not my will, but thine. An easy phrase to say, but not so easy to follow.

  11. RobbyeFaye says:

    Julie,
    Thank you for sharing about this incredible young man. I am sorry the world has lost him, but rejoice that he lives on through the internet What an incredible testimony!
    Blessings~.

  12. lorriebowden says:

    Ah! Cookie. As I stood at my father’s bedside and held his hand while he passed this summer, and while I am the primary (only) caregiver for my 89 year old mother (who fell last week and broke her kneecap) this post has struck a chord deep in my heart and I am typing through tears that well up from my soul.
    I know this is the rhythm of life and I am so grateful to be able to assist ‘her moving forward.’
    Many blessings to you dear soul for touching me and for sharing your soul. We truly are one and when we connect at the soul level I know it pleases God! 💜

    • Thank you for such kind words Lorrie and know that I didn’t mean to make you cry…but you cry cause you are there and totally get it….
      Never an easy time that’s for certain…and watching those who are young like Nabeel battling such is equally as difficult.

      But the thing that we as Christian know is that there is indeed to be more…that idea is hard, it hurts and it leaves us grabbling to understand…but when all is said and done—we know…
      Prayers Lorrie as you walk this journey with your Mom and I am sorry about you losing your dad—as you know, I do understand!

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