Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias and his international ministry team recently said their “preliminary” goodbyes to one of their own, best-selling author Nabeel Qureshi, who recently announced that tests have revealed his advanced stomach cancer has metastasized and there is little hope for survival.
Qureshi, a former Ahmadiyya Muslim who converted to Christianity and served as a speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, revealed last summer that he was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer and only had about a 4 percent chance of surviving the next five years.
Even though Qureshi reported last November that something “remarkable” happened and doctors could no longer find the large tumor in his stomach, Qureshi declared earlier this month that the radiation didn’t work and the tumor was still there. Additionally, he said the cancer had spread to more lymph nodes which means he’s no longer a candidate for surgery.
“This is about the worst news we’ve received since we were first diagnosed,” the 34-year-old husband and father said in a video blog. “And the cancer is now worse.”
In a blog post published on his ministry’s website Monday, the 71-year-old Zacharias revealed that he was recently with Qureshi when he spoke in Malaysia. When they returned from Malaysia, Qureshi asked if he could attend the RZIM annual itinerant team meeting because he “viewed us as family.”
Itinerants at the annual Ravi Zacharias International Ministries team meeting pray over apologist Nabeel Qureshi, who was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer in 2016.
“I was torn by the request because with each passing day, he was hanging on by a more slender thread,” Zacharias wrote. “The last thing I wanted to happen was for his final breath to be taken while he was away from his precious wife and daughter. But he was confident he would be fine to make the trip.”
At the meeting, Qureshi gave an address on the opening morning.
“He told us that the doctors have given up hope and that there will be no surgical intervention (which was to have happened only if the chemo and radiation had worked),” Zacharias explained.
“Medicine feels it has done all it can. It has been the privilege of RZIM to cover Nabeel’s medical expenses and carry him and his family through this entire treatment since the discovery of the cancer,” he added. “RZIM’s generous donors have been more than willing to help us bear the financial cost, which is small in comparison to the emotional and physical agony — to say nothing of the shock of it all — that he and his family are facing.”
Nabeel addressing about seventy RZIM colleagues from every continent who he considered as family.
Zacharias quoted Qureshi as telling the more than 70 attendees of the meeting: “Thank you. I love you all and if I have hurt anyone, I ask for forgiveness. Most important, my faith is stronger than ever in my Savior and whatever lies ahead, I will take it as God’s will.”
Zacharias said that Qureshi also said they probably won’t see him speaking in public again.
“I bid you all goodbye,” Qureshi was quoted as saying.
Although Qureshi faces little to no probability of surviving his illness, Zacharias declared that God is still able to heal Qureshi.
“With his winsome smile [Qureshi] himself said, ‘Yes, He is, even after I’m in the ground for three days,'” Zacharias wrote. “At the same time he realizes that his body is giving way. He is torn between what seems imminent and what is always possible with God.”
Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Nabeel Qureshi
“Recognizing that tension myself, I didn’t want to wait to write this because I wish to pay tribute to probably one of the finest preachers I have ever heard,” Zacharias continued. “I love him as a son and have walked with him as a colleague.”
Nabeel and Dan Paterson hug for the last time.
In his post, Zacharias also offered a short, heartfelt “farewell.”
“My dearest Nabeel, I love you, dear friend, and my heart aches to see you leaving this world so soon. But if it is of any comfort, you have so far lived the same number of years as our Lord and Redeemer,” he wrote.
RZIM team members praying for Nabeel.
“What is more, the world is a mess. We are still trapped by the fears of living in a world immersed in hate and living for matter, greed, pride, and violence. You will be freed to the joy of life where there are no more fears, no more tears, no more hate, no more bloodshed, because you will be with the One who has already shed his blood for you, where love is supreme, grace abounds, and the consummate joy is of the soul. The smile of God awaits you: ‘Well done.'”
Nabeel worshiping God.
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