Sometimes I want to be further along than I am. Let me explain. My friend Connie recently had surgery for cancer. She’s one of these super-gentle, soft, rare people who just ooze loving-kindness. (Totally opposite of me: loud, sometimes crass) I absolutely love her! A couple of days before the surgery, I asked her how I could pray for her. Wanna hear how she answered? That God would be glorified. I was speechless. I mean, I love God. Immensely. And I want Him to be made famous through my life. But I can honestly tell you that if I wasn’t trying to act all spiritually mature, I wouldn’t answer the way Connie answered if asked the same question. I would probably have said something like “Pray that it won’t hurt, that they’ll get all of the cancer” or “Please pray for my doctor.” I want to be able to answer the way she did, with God’s glory as my number one concern if I was in her situation.
Sometimes I just want to be more spiritually mature than I am. I am also finding that I can’t “fake it till I make it” with this stuff. I can only be super-honest with myself and God. It’s okay if that’s not where I am yet. I can ask God to grow me so that His glory and fame is more important than my comfort. I’m not who I want to be. Yet.
In 2006, Pastor John Piper announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He responded to his diagnosis with the following:
“This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet.”
These challenging words are an excerpt from a letter to Pastor John Piper’s church. Click here to read Pastor Piper’s entire letter to his church announcing his trial with cancer. It will probably rock you a little bit, as it did me.
As an American Christian, most of the time I have the wrong attitude about trials. We often feel forsaken and forgotten when we have a serious illness or undergo some sort of major trial. I have definitely felt that way lately as I’ve had an ongoing health trial. Piper reminds us that this isn’t the case, and he gives some great practical applications in his 16 page booklet Don’t Waste Your Cancer. You can download the PDF form and read it for free from desiringgod.org website.
This is a great booklet if you are suffering with a chronic or terminal illness, or if a loved one of yours is afflicted with sickness. It may just give you a huge shift in the way that you view trials, especially medical ones.