These days I have become a slow reader, mainly, because I take lots of time meditating on notable passages that I find. I recently read a book called ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’ by the late Nabeel Qureshi.
I thought the book would keep me engaged during my writing break in January, only to finish it in a day.
This is among the best books I have read so far. It is not just one of those good-reads books, or even those books written for the sake of getting in sales. It is a raw story of a young devout, ahmadi muslim who just wanted to live his faith as best as he could; and even bring people to embrace islam as the true faith.
Only his pursuit to defend and stand up for islam led him into the arms of Christ.
This book gave me such a different perspective on ministry and more than this, it took me through a journey. A journey of the devotion that is put into the islamic faith by muslims. It made me understand that ministry is not only about sharing with people about the love of Jesus. Ministry is also about concern for others, love for others, and other times even journeying with others, but most importantly, letting God deal with each child as He wills and desires.
To be honest, I have not always been the best person when it comes to ministering to people about Jesus. In fact, I have failed more times than I have got it right. I have pulled the Jesus is the way! period!’ defense in the conversations I have had with some people. And before you think that I am one of those bible-banger christians, let me give you a bit of a background of what I mean.
Being in darkness (not having the gift of salvation) is the scariest path of life to be on; a life without Jesus. But also, there is something equally scary; that is, walking in darkness but being convinced that you are in the light.
And I was one of those who was convinced that I was in the light, being a devout Catholic, —mostly relying on my own goodness and devotion to the faith.
So before you jump the gun on reckoning about the zealous approach I have used on other occasions to reach people, I would like you to take a long look at this girl. A girl who was convinced of her beliefs as the true beliefs; a girl who was dedicated to following the Catholic doctrines with all her heart. Then this same girl realizes that all her life, she had placed her faith in a very flawed system.
That it was not about the amount of devotion or any effort on my part; but the grace and mercy of God and a genuine relationship with God on my part. A friendship with my creator, a God who desired to touch me more than I desired to touch Him. A creator who was concerned with every detail of my life, including the number of hairs that fell from my head every second. A God who desired to guide my life through every step.
Remember the Samaritan woman’s reaction when she first experienced the joy of meeting her Messiah? She ran into town just telling people about this man whom she had met. And I could liken my first stages of faith this way. A girl who just wanted to tell others about what I had experienced in the arms of Christ. And so….maybe you now understand, the zealous approach I had taken.
Nabeel’s story is one among many of the many Muslims who have encountered Jesus, but very uniquely orchestrated by God. I was deeply moved by the friendship I saw in the book between two men who had totally different beliefs, yet God, finding a way to work through both of them in such a gracious way.
I was moved by the love of a mother to her son, a father to his son, a sister to her brother; and the battle Nabeel faced between the love for his family and the love for Jesus.
Believe it or not, God used Nabeel’s story to minister to me in such a deep way.
I highly recommend the book to anyone. It is simply an amazing work of the grace of God and also a painful journey of a devout muslim’s cost to abandon his faith and follow Jesus. Yet this cost was worth every single heartbreak. God has used the ministry Nabeel began to reach thousands of muslims all over the world and He is still using the work he left behind to still do a wonderful work.
Nabeel passed away in September 2017 after a struggle with cancer leaving behind a wife and a daughter. If you would like to, you can remember them in your prayers.