Ravi Zacharias has revealed his team has said a "preliminary goodbye" to Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi, as doctors have "given up hope" that his stomach cancer can be cured.
In a heartbreaking blog post, Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, revealed Qureshi had asked to attend the ministry's annual itinerant team meeting following a brief trip to Malaysia.
"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."
The opening morning of the meeting, Qureshi addressed "about seventy of us from every continent", Zacharias revealed, and delivered some devastating news.
"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)," he said. "Medicine feels it has done all it can."
After sharing the news, Qureshi told his fellow itinerants: "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. You will probably not see me speaking in public anymore and I bid you all goodbye."
Zacharias recalled, "He then looked in my direction to share his final words of affection to me and bid us goodbye. I was too overcome to say anything...I do not ever recall being part of a meeting like this one: the love, the healing, the soul-wrenching heartache, the unstoppable tears, and finally the hugs, the prayers, and the farewell."
The evangelist continued, "Is our Lord still able to heal Nabeel? Yes. With his winsome smile he himself said, 'Yes, he is, even after I'm in the ground for three days.' 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."
Zacharias concluded with a final note to his dear friend and colleague: "My dearest Nabeel, I love you, dear friend, and my heart aches to see you leaving this world so soon."
The evangelist reminded Qureshi he is the same age as Jesus Christ was when he entered into eternity: "What is more, the world is a mess," he said. "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.'"
As reported, in a recent YouTube video blog, Qureshi, who was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer last year, revealed that latest tests showed that his health had taken a turn for the worse.
"The radiation apparently didn't work too well," he said.
"The primary tumor has shrunk some ... but the tumor is still there. There's still cancer in the stomach. What's worse is that the lymph nodes that we were hoping would recede haven't receded. So, I'm not a candidate for surgery. And on top of that, the cancer has spread to more lymph nodes now throughout my chest," Qureshi revealed.
Qureshi said they will keep praying and doing what they can. One of the things he is considering is trying out alternative treatments for cancer.
"I hear about places in southern France and in Switzerland, some in Mexico. So who knows, maybe I'll check some of these things out," he said. "But my hope is still in the Lord. My hope is still in the Lord."
He thanked everyone who have been praying for him and asked them to continue lifting him up in prayer.
He also ended his Vlog in prayer, acknowledging the sovereignty of God over his life and declaring that God is "a miracle working God."