Sep 2, 2010

Cancer Series: John Piper

Yesterday a family friend of ours died of cancer. This is the fourth death by cancer of people we know in past 8 months. To trust in a God who is all knowing, all powerful, fully good, and graciously sovereign has made each of these deaths cause worship within my soul because of the saving call of Christ on my own life and for those who are found in Him.

I am of the worst of sinners. In fact, I am the worst sinner I know. Deserving of death. But even while I am a sinner, Christ died for me. To this end I praise the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ. The One who causes me to mourn not like those who have no hope, but to mourn with hope and JOY! Death here on this earth is only the beginning of the true reality of life eternal in Heaven for those who are in Christ. For those who are in Christ....the only way to ultimate joy, delight, satisfaction, hope, love, and restored relationship with our Creator. Because of Christ's life, death, burial, and resurrection we are free from the curse of death.

The months ahead will no doubt bring more deaths caused by cancer or other means. And the same is undoubtedly true for you and relationships you know. We are a dieing people from the day we were conceived. Wicked, evil, separated from God, we need a Savior. Jesus Christ is our Savior the One who defeated death and offers life eternal to those who would take up their cross and follow Him. Fully surrendered.

With all this on my mind recently, I thought I'd review a series by Dr. John Piper titled, "Don't Waste Your Cancer." As I read it is my prayer that I will respond as one who has hope when death rears its ugly head in my own life.

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.

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