A minister in the Midwest, John Piper, battled prostate cancer a dozen years ago and wrote an open letter to his church about his battle.
He shockingly said that one will “waste your cancer if you think of it as a curse and not a gift”. That got my attention. Mr. Piper has embraced the words of Psalms 20:7-8 as his battle anthem. Our trust is not in horses and chariots, …only
Jehovah. Cancer can knock all our props out from under us so that we are utterly relying upon God. A few excerpts from his letter:
“You waste your cancer if you refuse to think/talk about death”
Psalm 90:2 and Ecclesiastes 7:2 remind us of the value of pondering our own
“You waste your cancer if “beating cancer” becomes more important than
Cancer doesn’t win if you die. Cancer wins if we fail to cherish Christ. God ’s design
is to wean us off the breast of the world to feast upon the sufficiency
“You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer
and not enough time reading about God”
Google searches cannot replace seeking God.
“You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of
deepening our relationships with manifest affection”
Don’t retreat. Actively embrace your friends and welcome them into your
“You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth
and glory of Christ”
Cancer becomes our megaphone to talk about our core beliefs. It reveals who
we really are and what we really believe.
Mr. Piper is now in his early 70’s and has retired to east Tennessee. He continues to write and speak.
To all battling cancer and other wrenching illnesses, we are reminded of the words of Christ in Luke 21. When platoons of heartache come marching into our lives, people will watch us, and thereby it leads to opportunities to both give and to be a testimony (Luke 21:13).