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Don't Waste Your Cancer...5

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
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).
DP: Cherishing Christ expresses the two core activities of faith: dire need and utter joy. Many psalms cry out in a ‘minor key’: we cherish our Savior by needing him to save us from real troubles, real sins, real sufferings, real anguish. Many psalms sing out in a ‘major key’: we cherish our Savior by delighting in him, loving him, thanking him for all his benefits to us, rejoicing that his salvation is the weightiest thing in the world and that he gets last say. And many psalms start out in one key and end up in the other. Cherishing Christ is not monochromatic; you live the whole spectrum of human experience with him. To ‘beat’ cancer is to live knowing how your Father has compassion on his beloved child, because he knows your frame, that you are but dust. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. To live is to know him, whom to know is to love.
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HOPE2BE 10/19/2010 1:33PM

    I love him and try to do right by him. I try to conquer addictions and rejoice that he gave me my freedom. I rejoice that he loves me like I love him.

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Don't Waste Your Cancer...4

Monday, October 18, 2010

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
We will all die, if Jesus postpones his return. Not to think about what it will be like to leave this life and meet God is folly. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning [a funeral] than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” How can you lay it to heart if you won’t think about it? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Numbering your days means thinking about how few there are and that they will end. How will you get a heart of wisdom if you refuse to think about this? What a waste, if we do not think about death.
DP: Paul describes the Holy Spirit is the unseen, inner ‘downpayment’ on the certainty of life. By faith, the Lord gives a sweet taste of the face-to-face reality of eternal life in the presence of our God and Christ. We might also say that cancer is one ‘downpayment’ on inevitable death, giving one bad taste of the reality of of our mortality. Cancer is a signpost pointing to something far bigger: the last enemy that you must face. But Christ has defeated this last enemy: 1 Corinthians 15. Death is swallowed up in victory. Cancer is merely one of the enemy’s scouting parties, out on patrol. It has no final power if you are a child of the resurrection, so you can look it in the eye.
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HOPE2BE 10/19/2010 1:39PM

    I am humbled.

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SERENEMOM71 10/18/2010 4:17PM

  I met death last year when I went to the ER and they discovered I had lungs full of blood clots. I realized that I was ready to meet God but I only had one regret - which was that I didn't have enough time to say good by to everyone that I wanted to. Obviously I survived, and it changed me so that I try to live each day to the fullest. My faith has certainly deepened, too. Thanks for sharing.

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Don't Waste Your Cancer...3

Sunday, October 17, 2010

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

3. 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.
DP: God himself is your comfort. He gives himself. The hymn “Be Still My Soul” (by Katerina von Schlegel) reckons the odds the right way: we are 100% certain to suffer, and Christ is 100% certain to meet us, to come for us, comfort us, and restore love’s purest joys. The hymn “How Firm a Foundation” reckons the odds the same way: you are 100% certain to pass through grave distresses, and your Savior is 100% certain to “be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.” With God, you aren’t playing percentages, but living within certainties.
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HOPE2BE 10/19/2010 1:36PM

    I rejoice in my life knowing that through him all things are possible. I also know to bow down to him that rejoiceth in my life.

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SERENEMOM71 10/18/2010 12:21AM

  All I can say Marilyn is WOW! You can apply this not only to cancer but to other things in life. When my child was murdered - all props were knock out from under me. I was in shock, then when the shock wore off - the great distress set in ! Someone came to me who had also had a child murdered and said to me that I had two choices - I could turn my back on God and ignore him or I could turn towards him and realized that He too, had a son that was murdered, too, that was innocent, like my child. That really helped. Those two hymns are perfect for this blog. "Be Still My Soul" , "How Firm a Foundation", and I would add "Faith of Our Fathers" - a faith that has been present 2010 years strong and beautiful! Do you realize that these blogs help people not only with cancer but with so many, many other situations besides terminal illnesses? Thank you so much for sharing. I continue to pray for your healing. I so wish that I could be by your side, praying over you with others - so I guess my prayers will just have to be long distance. If you live near Missouri, let me know if you want a visit!
Love, your sister in Christ,
Amy emoticon emoticon emoticon
Standing on the Promises of God!

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Don't Waste Your Cancer...2

Saturday, October 16, 2010

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org


2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
DP: The blessing comes in what God does for us, with us, through us. He brings his great and merciful redemption onto the stage of the curse. Your cancer, in itself, is one of those 10,000 ‘shadows of death’ (Psalm 23:4) that come upon each of us: all the threats, losses, pains, incompletion, disappointment, evils. But in his beloved children, our Father works a most kind good through our most grievous losses: sometimes healing and restoring the body (temporarily, until the resurrection of the dead to eternal life), always sustaining and teaching us that we might know and love him more simply. In the testing ground of evils, your faith becomes deep and real, and your love becomes purposeful and wise: James 1:2-5, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:18-39.
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SERENEMOM71 10/17/2010 12:55AM

  I know 3 Spark People who have cancer and one who is a survivor. I admire all of you and pray for you daily. I also know several women who have MS, and one with Parkinsons and a dear friend who just died of ALS. All of you are so courageous, wonderful, loving, kind, generous, and have a bright, shining soul that is so precious and wise beyound your years. I believe it is because you have faced death straight in the face and are living in spite of it! Somehow in spite of the pain, sleepless nights, and the awful treatments that you endure, you still smile and have a sense of humor! Thank God for your witness and your willingness to share your life with us. You truly are Blessed to be a Blessing to me and to hundreds if not thousands of others.

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HOPE2BE 10/16/2010 9:51PM

    How beautiful this is to read. I do believe that it is a blessing to have God bestow this upon us.

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SMIDGON 10/16/2010 10:23AM

    I have not had cancer, PTL! But, this past May, my 43yr. old daughter became a breasr cancer survivor. PTL!!!
I was witness to her journey, which she was a real trooper. I don't know if I could have done like she.
It did bring her back to GOD! PTL!!!
The best and prayers to everyone going on this journey.

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LINTPICKER 10/16/2010 9:53AM

    This is true, just a hard road to go down. My prayers are with you emoticon

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Don't Waste Your Cancer...1

Friday, October 15, 2010

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org
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Because of the length of this article, I will blog it in segments. It has helped me to put my cancer into its' proper place & helped me to re-focus.

Don't Waste Your Cancer
By John Piper February 15, 2006

[Editor's Note: Our friend, David Powlison, of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, who also was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, has added some helpful expansions to John Piper’s ten points. Indented paragraphs beginning with "DP:" are written by David Powlison.]
I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain.
DP: I (David Powlison) add these reflections on John Piper’s words the morning after receiving news that I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer (March 3, 2006). The ten main points and first paragraphs are his; the second paragraphs are mine.
1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it.
DP: Recognizing his designing hand does not make you stoic or dishonest or artificially buoyant. Instead, the reality of God’s design elicits and channels your honest outcry to your one true Savior. God’s design invites honest speech, rather than silencing us into resignation. Consider the honesty of the Psalms, of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38), of Habakkuk 3. These people are bluntly, believingly honest because they know that God is God and set their hopes in him. Psalm 28 teaches you passionate, direct prayer to God. He must hear you. He will hear you. He will continue to work in you and your situation. This outcry comes from your sense of need for help (28:1-2). Then name your particular troubles to God (28:3-5). You are free to personalize with your own particulars. Often in life’s ‘various trials’ (James 1:2), what you face does not exactly map on to the particulars that David or Jesus faced - but the dynamic of faith is the same. Having cast your cares on him who cares for you, then voice your joy (28:6-7): the God-given peace that is beyond understanding. Finally, because faith always works out into love, your personal need and joy will branch out into loving concern for others (28:8-9). Illness can sharpen your awareness of how thoroughly God has already and always been at work in every detail of your life.
emoticon MarilynC

  
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SERENEMOM71 10/15/2010 6:03PM

  I do not have cancer but I have several life changing serious illnesses that change my life dramatically. I look forward to reading the rest of this, too. Thank you for sharing this. I hope that this helps me too, although my illnesses are not nearly as serious as yours, Marilyn. I continue to think of and pray for you daily.

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HOPE2BE 10/15/2010 10:35AM

    Thank you Marilyn I look forward to the coming words.

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