It’s been a hard year, witnessing the trial that Nabeel Qureshi and his wife Michelle were going through, to see and hear the anguish that Nabeel’s father and mother were obviously experiencing, to see and relive the experience of cancer and leaving this world. A few years ago I also had cancer, the probability of surviving wasn’t that great, they told me I had a 17% chance of being alive in five years and that was after I was operated on.
But, thanks be to God, I am still here and cancer free, eleven years later. But I remember. I remember the thoughts that raced through my mind, I remember being overcome with emotion and I remember the tears that I shed, not just for myself but for those that I loved and would miss.
I watched all 43 of Nabeel’s VLog videos, I prayed for him every day. I was earnest in my prayers for him, his wife, his daughter and his parents. I’ve done a lot of thinking this last year, I’m 72 years old so I’m pushing the envelope, tomorrow is not a guarantee.
I’ve had some realizations that I’m going to share with you about my reality, what I’ve seen, what I’ve done, what I’ve come to know:
- I’ve come to know that this life we have been given is a gift, we had no part in our being here.
- I’ve come to appreciate that all of us have some baggage, things that happened to us or things that we did in the past that we would probably change if we could.
- I’ve come to understand that this baggage does affect us, whether we acknowledge it or not and sooner or later, if we want to leave it behind, we do have to literally leave it behind, acknowledge that we can’t change yesterday, only today and possibly tomorrow.
- I’ve come to acknowledge that none of us, not one, is perfect, in fact, we’re far from perfect.
- I’ve come to realize that the better part of my life was spent focusing on me, my wants, my desires, my pleasure, my hopes, my needs. I, in myself, have nothing to be really proud about, because in spite of my accomplishments, in spite of what I did achieve, I should have been able to do so much better, but I didn’t.
- I’ve come to understand that it is only through the sheer grace of God that I turned to Him for answers and how thankful I am that He was there to answer me.
- I’ve come to acknowledge that I am a slow learner, that coming to believe in God does not necessitate that you are honestly trying to follow His will for your life. Holding onto the reins or trusting in your own decisions is not something that one gives up quickly, at least it didn’t for me. God’s message of love and atonement is really beautiful but it also involves taking His entire message to heart, not just the forgiveness part.
- I’ve come to appreciate more fully, the beauty of creation that surrounds us and that this beauty that we now see is nothing compared to what God has in store for us in the future. We live in and on a world that God created that is now imperfect, changed from what it could have been and mankind, in our greed and selfishness is destroying even that. And even yet, it still displays it’s beauty.
- I understand that I, like all of mankind, was and am the problem, that my continual focus on self interests, made myself my own god. I was the focus of my attention, the captain of my own ship. What I thought I could achieve and what I did achieve were not one and the same thing. My ideals were not my realities.
- I’ve come to appreciate the value and worth of love for others and being loved, but even love that I have within myself for others is not enough to offset the overriding preeminence of self. And the preeminence of self can be self destructive.
- God tells us all these things in the Bible but I had to learn that they were true. Learning takes time, it takes mistakes, it takes admission of fault. It takes honesty.
- It’s hard to fully comprehend that this world that we see, is actually very rare, maybe unique and yet we take it for granted, without giving it a second thought. We take this life that we have been given for granted, in fact, we take just about everything for granted. We see but we don’t see, we hear but we don’t hear, we think we understand but we really don’t understand the gift of life that we have been given. Superficial comprehension comes to mind.
- The wonder of it all is that God doesn’t leave us there, He reaches out to us even when we really don’t have a clue and He can and will draw us to Himself, if we let Him, if we truly ask Him to reveal Himself to us. That’s because He truly loves us. The distance between our minds and our hearts can be great, just because we may acknowledge something because we know it, does not mean that we actively follow it or act on it. Knowledge and wisdom (the ability to use the knowledge we have constructively), are not one and the same.
- The beauty and precise order of the universe, it’s creation from nothing, our location in our galaxy, the uniqueness of our solar system and our sun and moon and the earth itself are special, maybe unique but it doesn’t stop there. The information and complexity contained in DNA and the now acknowledged immense complexity of even a simple cell, all speak of the reality of a Creator versus sheer chance. God says that if we look at what He has created that we will have to acknowledge that He is. But you really have to look, give it more than a passing glance, to appreciate this.
- But God doesn’t stop there. There is only one religion in the whole world where the revelation given says that He is God and that He actually rose from the dead. Only one. We’re not talking about folk lore or myths, we are talking actual investigate-able historical history. But you’d have to check that out wouldn’t you, if you were really looking, if you really wanted to know.
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not the only proof, it’s what Jesus said, it’s what He did, it’s the message of God’s love and redemption that He came to give us that sets Him apart from all others. And He himself never wrote about it, His followers did. Think about that. And their written eye witness testimony has been reliably preserved, like no other ancient writings, ever.
- What Jesus came to tell us is that He is the source of all that we see. And what we see and experience is not all that there is. No, there is much more, this is only a taste of what is available. What we see is temporary, only a shadow of more to come but there is need to acknowledge our own inadequacies and failures, are own need to be lifted from our own limitations, to that which He says was always meant to be but that humanity lost long ago in our past.
- And when you really look at the message that Jesus brought, it’s all about God’s love and God’s purposes and God’s intent towards us, His creation. But we get to decide, we get to determine, we get to make the decision. And there is a reason for that, love is only truly love when it is freely given, both ways. That is a truth.
- Nabeel did his investigative searching, came to his conclusion and made his decision. That’s basically what we all have to do. We live in a four dimensional world where matter is defined or experienced as length, width, height plus time. That’s in our universe, but God is outside of our four dimensional universe, He’s not held to those limitations and now, neither is Nabeel. One day, we that have put our hope and faith in what Jesus accomplished on our behalf, for us, that we in and of ourselves could not do for ourselves, will also experience. Being face to face with God our Creator, where He is.
- When we look at ourselves, honestly, what God tells us about ourselves is really not that hard to understand. When we look at the history of the world’s civilizations, especially today, it is especially not hard to understand. Mankind, left to our own tendencies, does not put true love above everything else. Isn’t it strange, after all is said and done, the emotion that we value above all else as humans is love, but not to the extent that God does. There is a reason for that, God is the source of love.
- Am I sad that Nabeel has left our company, yes I am but I have tasted what it is like to be in God’s presence, and the reality of His presence surpasses anything that we can experience in this life, left to ourselves.
- I don’t have all the answers, I don’t even know all the questions, I only know what I know. God is grace, God is love, far beyond what we can comprehend, but you’ll never experience that reality, unless you make the decision like Nabeel did, like I and countless others have.
- And if you haven’t already made that decision, even though God’s love is extended towards you, you cannot receive it because it has to go both ways. To say no or not made a decision, is in fact a decision.
Nabeel’s death is a reminder to all of us that this world that we live in, is not all that there is.
Jesus came to this earth to let us know this, to show us the way, to give us this truth and to open the door to eternal life. I am grateful for the testimony that Nabeel left us, I know that Nabeel’s wife and child will be taken care of, there is and will be sorrow but one day there will be greater joy. There is a reality that many don’t see, not because it isn’t there. but because God’s message of love and redemption has been ignored or not seriously considered and then followed up on. Thank God that Nabeel did not make that mistake, thank God for the wonderful example of steadfast faith and trust that Nabeel left us with.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!