Becoming a Christian doesn’t solve all of our problems. Sometimes, becoming a Christian means an increase of pain, sorrow, and suffering. We shouldn’t be surprised—this is what Jesus says will happen.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33
Nabel Qureshi was raised wanting to be just like his father—a devout Muslim. He recited the entire Qu’ran cover to cover when he was five. But at one point, he started studying the claims of Christianity, and discovered that the historical claims of Christianity were really strong. Then he studied the foundations of Islam more and discovered that it was his religion that was on shakier ground. Here’s what he says:
After a few years of investigation, I was faced with the fact that I might be wrong. My whole family might be wrong. And everything that my grandfather stood for when he was preaching in the temples in Indonesia might be wrong. And that’s earth-shattering. It’s hard to believe. It’s hard to swallow.
Following Christ and joining His family might separate you from your own biological family. This is what Qureshi was faced with when he came to his parents and told them that he believed in Jesus. And they were, indeed, devastated.
In this first week of Ramadan, we want to share with you what Nabeel Qureshi, author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity says about his suffering after he turned from Islam to Jesus.
What was the first thing you sensed after you proclaimed your faith in Christ?
“Well after that, it became a struggle of how to tell my family and what that would do. I have to tell you, this was the most painful year of my life. Because of what it did to my family, what it did to everything. My whole perspective on life.
But what I realized when I was hurting—and I was hurting tremendously—I went to God in prayer, and I said God, I actually prayed to him, I said, “Why didn’t you kill me? Between the moment I believed and the moment my parents found out, I was saved, they were happy, why didn’t you kill me?” That was my plead with God.
What dawned on me, what I think in a moment of revelation what hit me, was that the reason God saves us is not just for us but because of him and his story and what he’s doing in this world.
And what I realized was that, is if Jesus is God, willing to lower himself and die painfully on a cross for the sake of mankind, if I am calling myself his follower, that means I have to be willing to go through pain and humiliation and suffering for the sake of sharing the gospel with the men and women around me. That’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
In that moment of self-pity, I reframed—by God’s grace, I think he reframed—my whole perspective on the world and that’s when I really encountered the gospel and it changed me forever.”
Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating. He is now a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He holds an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University, and an M.A. in religion from Duke University.