Don’t Waste Your Cancer

don't waste your cancer

This had been a “dark” week. First we heard the news that a missionary friend discovered that he had cancer. He is much younger than we are, has a beautiful family, pastored a church in the Philippines, planted another one in Indonesia, then called by God to serve in Taiwan. Out of the blue he found out that there is a tumor in his nasal passage.

The next day we heard one of my wife’s former colleagues has been undergoing treatment for leukemia for the past several weeks. Again he’s only in his early fifties, with a successful IT career within major banks, but not yet a believer. E. witnessed to him in the past, but he did not see the need at that time. Now he is reading the Bible and Christian books in search for answers.

When I shared this with my younger brother, he told me his church brother also has lung cancer. He’s about my brother’s age, and as strong as a horse! Recently he took a “Silk Road” trip and hiked mountains without symptoms of altitude sickness, and he never smoked a cigarette in his life. However, when he returned home he did not feel well and went to see a doctor, and discovered that the cancer is already at an advanced stage.

The first thing that comes to mind upon hearing these is Mt 5:45 “that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” The context is loving your enemy, but one corollary is that we live in a fallen world, and God’s children are not exempt. Bad things happen to good people, Christian and non-Christian. The important thing is, when bad things happen, how do we respond.

John Piper, who needs no introduction from me, wrote a booklet called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer“, which is adapted from his book “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God“. On the eve of his own prostate cancer surgery, he penned 11 occasions when we waste our cancer. He is an excellent author, so rather than paraphrase and summarize what he said, I’ll just post a link where you can read his booklet for yourself. Wise counsel. Don’t waste your cancer.

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