Wisdom from John Piper

  • June 8, 2011
  • #7593

Joni shares wisdom she received from John Piper during her treatment for breast cancer.

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I'm a cancer survivor!

‘Well… not too fast,’ my husband would say if he were sitting next to me. It was just about a year ago that I discovered that lump in my breast – a day later, I was in radiology for a mammogram and ultrasound; two days after that, a biopsy, and the following week I went under the knife to remove a nearly 3” tumor and several lymph nodes. That’s when the doctors told me I had stage 3 cancer and would need chemotherapy. It all happened so fast… and actually, I can’t believe nearly a year has gone by. My recent PET scan was all clear, but does that mean I'm cancer free? Not really. It’s going to be touch-and-go for the next five years – only after then can I be declared free of cancer.

And of all the things I learned during that journey, I learned not to waste my cancer. Back then, I read a wonderful little booklet by Dr. John Piper called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” and it was so helpful… his insights really kept my emotions from running away with me – especially when I would go on the Internet and read all these horror stories you read about cancer. I remember Dr. Piper saying that it’s not wrong to know about cancer, learn about it, but the lure is to want to know more and more about it, until your search completely overshadows your desire to know God through it all. Cancer is meant to wake us up to the reality of God. It is meant to put feeling and force behind those words from Hosea chapter 6 where it says, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.” Cancer is meant to awaken in us the truth of Daniel chapter 11 where it says, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” Friend, there’s no better way to know the Lord than in the midst of disease or disability – so take action: for every five pages of material you read about your ailment, your physical problem, your cancer, spend time reading ten pages about God. After all, the Bible tells us elsewhere to not only delight ourselves in the law of the Lord, but to meditate on it day and night. What a waste of a disease or disability if we burn the midnight oil reading about it, and not about God. 

That’s why I'm so grateful for that little John Piper booklet I read when I first learned I had cancer. The insights were so invigorating, so challenging. It was like a trumpet call, rousing my spirit to rise to the occasion and not retreat into self pity. The insights gave a robust, healthy view on my medical problems and every x-ray thereafter; every blood test and doctor’s visit, every hospital appointment, PET scan, bone scan, and CT scan… none of it utterly overwhelmed me. Oh sure, there were times I was frightened and tired of it all, but it didn’t get the best of me. Cancer was not going to win if I died… cancer would only win if I failed to cherish Christ.

Over the last year, I gave away hundreds of those articles by John Piper, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer,” and I’d like to give you your copy today. You don’t have to have cancer to be blessed by what he writes – the scriptures will invigorate you too no matter what you’re going through. And you can get your copy by going online and visiting my radio page at joniandfriends.org. Don’t let your sufferings overwhelm you, friend. There is hope, there is help, the Bible has encouragement to offer, and God has grace to give – and while you’re asking for your copy of “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” on my radio page, why don’t you post a prayer request. We’d like to lift you and your needs up before the Lord in our morning staff prayer time here at Joni and Friends, so as soon as we’re done here, come on over to joniandfriends.org and let us know how we can pray for you.

© Joni and Friends

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