Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't Waste Your Cancer! Or How To Rightly View Your Circumstances

A couple weeks ago I read a message by John Piper written when he had prostrate cancer in early 2006. The message, entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer" contains ten points that he makes in regards to cancer in our lives and how we, as Christians, should not "waste" the circumstance of it. It has been expanded with comments by David Powlison, so please note that paragraphs marked by "DP" are in addition to Piper's original message.

I won't copy Piper's message here in its entirety. You can go to the message itself to read or print it in full. Piper mentions ten points so you will want to read it all. But here I want to share point #5. Here's what he said:

"You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ."

Piper continues with this explanation: "Satan’s and God’s designs in your cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy your love for Christ. God designs to deepen your love for Christ. Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21)."

I believe that my cancer was part of God's plan for my life before the foundation of the world, before creation began, before I was born. King David, in prayer to God, says it this way in Psalm 139:16 - "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them."

God is sovereign and awesomely more than we imagine in our wildest dreams. Our lives are like "little stories" that are part of God's "Big Story". From our personal viewpoint we tend to think that it is "our" lives that are "big". And they are! But when considering our miniscule lives in context with the Eternal Almighty Creator God, we must admit that we are just a bit of fluff in terms of time, space and eternity. And when we begin to realize that...that we are the created and that He is our Creator, the one who works in all aspects of our lives, the one who saves us from ourselves, the one who rescues us from the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13), when we begin to realize the awesomeness of that, then we are compelled to bow down in humble and grateful thanks. No matter what.


Debby said...

I watch people, and sometimes you'll see a person stuck in a 'repeating pattern' in their life. I've often thought that God is trying to show them something, and they are missing the point. Anyhoo. I remember thinking, during treatment, "God, whatever it is I'm supposed to be learning, help me to see it, because I sure don't want to be doing this again."

Laurie M. said...

This is a great perspective. If only we could keep hold of for every second of life.

Glynis said...

Someone gave me this article last year as I was in the midst of my chemotherapy. Beautiful, wonderfully expressed, thought-provoking and challenging. "Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ." I love this quote. Thanks for the reminder my dear! x

Jonathan Smith said...

Way to rationalize a horrible disease.