Using Cancer to Worship God

I received my weekly “Fresh Words” e-mail from pastor-theologian-author John Piper today. He had surgery for cancer this morning, and appears to be doing well after surgery. Last night, on the eve of his surgery, he wrote down ten ways we can benefit from cancer, if God chooses not to heal us. Here’s a portion:

You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

If you or someone you know is facing a terminal illness, I think you’ll find his entire article encouraging. You can find it here.

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4 Responses to Using Cancer to Worship God

  1. ian February 15, 2006 at 5:19 PM #

    I rejoice in seeing God-centered gospel-exalting theology connect with the stuff of life.

    My heart has been heavy for brother John since I heard of His cancer–by God’s grace I was expecting this kind of response and challenge.

    The body continues to be blessed by his prophetic voice because it constantly points us to the glory of God in the face of Christ!

  2. Cap Stewart February 16, 2006 at 11:49 AM #

    That is probably the best article on cancer I have ever read. It was balanced, Scripture-centered, and God-glorifying. What stuck out to me was part of what Piper said under point #5: “Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ.” My father died of cancer, but the point of his death was not that he “lost” his battle with cancer—it was that his cancer, by God’s grace, compelled him to cherish his Savior. That truth—beautifully expressed in Piper’s article—has been a point of encouragement to me recently (even though my trials are not directly related to physical illness).

  3. John Suh February 16, 2006 at 12:43 PM #

    Thank you for your post. Pastor Piper’s perspective humbles and inspires me.

    He lives loudly, his life screams of God and his redeeming work…

  4. Shawn Gierling February 16, 2006 at 1:54 PM #

    I am fairly new to the teachings of John Piper. Thus far I have been challenged deeply by his passion for Christ. His work “Desiring God” meets me right where I need to be. I am encouraged at how his faith plays out in real life.

    Thank you for linking to him from this blog.

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