A few days ago, my wife and I learned her cancer is back. Two spots on her brain. They are near the surface, and the doctors are confident they can deal with them. But it is very disappointing news.
In the hospital, Sara and I re-read one of the most amazing things we’ve ever read—Don’t Waste Your Cancer by John Piper. He wrote it while dealing with his own cancer, yet his challenging insights apply to all kinds of suffering.
You can find the article here, and this is the version I prefer because it includes great comments from David Powlinson who was also facing cancer at the time. Piper’s 10 lessons (without Powlinson’s comments) are also available in a very short book on Amazon.
I’ll paste one sample from Piper below, one that we use all the time. We tell doctors not to discuss Sara’s odds or prognosis with us. We don’t trust in statistics, but in the Lord, and Piper helped us understand that:
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.