Don’t Waste Your Cancer – Taking the Cup

IMG_1098(Part 3 in a 11 part series based on John Piper’s booklet, “Don’t Waste You Cancer)

 #3 – We waste our cancer if we believe it is a curse and not a gift.

I have seen so many people suffer unnecessarily. It’s not their disease that is causing the suffering, but their judgment of themselves. They are looking for a cause within themselves that will explain why they were chosen — did they eat the wrong foods? Where they exposed to the wrong environment? Did they make wrong choices? Was it inherited?

It’s as if we have to have something to blame, including ourselves. If we can find the cause, then we think it will make sense to us. What we don’t realize is the damage we do to ourselves in the process. I think of Psalms 3:6 where David talks about the thousands who are accusing him — to me it’s the thousands of voices in my own head that accuse me.

And so what? What if we smoked or the office had asbestos? What difference does it make if our uncle had cancer? It doesn’t take away ours. We can’t un-write what has already been written.

Cancer, death, being mortal, is a curse from the beginning of time. It was not God’s ideal. It ended up being what separated us from God.

But it is also what brings us to God. Going through the suffering, we need hope. It’s not just the hope for a cure, but also a hope for a future. It brings us in touch with our mortality, the inevitable.

It challenges us to think differently about this life on earth and what is to come. Our soul is our connection with God and separates us from the plants and animals.

That awareness, and even the fear that comes with it, is a gift. When you look death in the face, you also see life. Each day is precious. It’s savored. Before cancer, I was not as aware that each day contains opportunities to write memories and leave legacies. It’s not about us as much as it is about those who remain.

For me, it has been a gift. Like I said before, it’s a gift in horrible wrapping paper. It’s been a gift I never wanted to receive. At one point, I wrote a poem about it, as if it was a cup of wine:

Taking the Cup

 It was forced on me,
Shoved into my chest
Taking away breath,
Red splashed on white.

I didn’t want it.

I didn’t ask for it
But I could not flee.
It was all over me!

It was freezing cold fear
Gripping mortality,
Ripping apart
Emotions held dear.

I was empty and alone,
Feeling there was nothing
Large enough or wise enough
To lead to hope


I took the cup

Clutched it to my breast
Received it.

Receiving it as a gift, without having to know all the whys, gives a sense of release. God does forgive the past and, in his grace, he offers a future.

I’d love to hear from you if you would like to comment at the top right of this blog…

(Poem taken from Splash: Captured Moments in Time, WestBow Press, available at And a “shout out” to Blue Ridge Writers and Poets who critiqued this before posting!)

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