Earlier this week, a dear lady from our church slipped quietly into the arms of her Savior. She had battled for only a short time against cancer.
A woman of multiple talents, she was a blessing to everyone at our church. And her dedication to the Lord could be seen in everything she did. In her life, she glorified God and now as we all remember her with love and respect, she has glorified God in her death.
That word cancer evokes great fear in most people. Even Christians who should not be disturbed by the thought of death, are troubled by the idea of dying of cancer. As I look down the list of prayer requests on the back of our church bulletin, I can see that cancer is a common illness and my husband’s name in on that list.
Diagnosed with colon cancer nearly four years ago and after a grueling surgery and multiple chemo treatments he is in remission. The signs of the disease are still showing on a CT scan but they are not active. This inactivity could be just a lull but it could also be that the cancer has lost it’s ability to grow. God only knows for sure. And that uncertainty could be the source of great fear if we let it. But we don’t. We try diligently to keep our focus on what Jesus is doing in us for His glory.
Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to a blog belonging to John Snippe who says, “I prefer not to think of myself as a cancer patient, but rather as a Cancer Survivor Trainee!” http://www.snippe.ca/touched/cancer-not-a-curse/
In his blog, he has introduced an article written by another cancer survivor ‘in training’, the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, John Piper. The article is entitled “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”, and in it, Pastor John gave ten points that he felt pertinent to his life and struggle against the disease.
I am going to list those points but I am not going to give his full account of each point. I’ve given you the link to the blog, if you want to read all that he had to say, go and read it for yourself. I will tell you that his own words diagram a man with strong faith in Christ.
1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.
8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.
9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.
10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.
As I read all that John Piper wrote under each point, I was moved by his Godly wisdom. But I also see that it’s not just cancer that can be a waste. You could remove the word ‘cancer’ and replace it with any one of dozens of life threatening diseases or disorders. Actually, you could also substitute any problem or trouble for the word ‘cancer’. Because when we move our focus from our Savior Jesus Christ, to some disease, illness or other problem, no matter how overwhelming that torment is, we give the enemy power to reign over us.
If you want to learn more about Pastor John Piper and his ministry goto: http://www.desiringgod.org/