Thursday, February 27, 2014

Not Wasting Your Disease

As I have mentioned in previous blogs and my books, my kidneys were permanently damaged by chemotherapy.  As a result, I have to take a specific drug daily to help prevent further damage.  Also, I have to avoid certain medications which are toxic to the kidneys.

When I visited my kidney doctor about a month ago, I noticed an advertisement in her office about being part of a research study for patients with mildly damaged kidneys.  This study would involve being given an experimental medication and seeing its effects on kidney function.  Ultimately, the study would involve a total of six doctors' visits within a month along with numerous lab tests.  After I left the doctor's office, I contacted the study director and opted to be a part of the study.  I thought "Why not???"  After all I had been through with chemotherapy, I speculated that by participating I could help others in the future.  In other words, I did not want to squander what I had learned through my illness.  Being in the study reminded me of what I had read by John Piper.

John Piper is a pastor and prolific Christian writer.  He also was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago.  He subsequently wrote a pamphlet entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer" which is very informative.  He mentions many ways that we don't take advantage of our cancer diagnosis.  He states:

1.  We waste our cancer if we don't hear in our own groanings the hope-filled labor pains of a fallen world.
2.  We waste our cancer if we do not believe it is designed for us by God.
3.  We waste our cancer if we believe it is a curse and not a gift.
4.  We waste our cancer if we seek our comfort from our odds rather than from God.
5.  We waste our cancer if we refuse to think about death.
6.  We waste our cancer if we think that "beating" cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
7.  We waste our cancer if we spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
8.  We waste our cancer if we let it drive us into solitude instead of deepen our relationships with manifest affection.
9.  We waste our cancer if we grieve as those who have no hope.
10.  We waste our cancer if we treat sin as casually as before.
11.  We waste our cancer if we fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

I would even add an additional thought:
12.  We waste our cancer if we focus primarily on our own recovery instead of ways we can help others.

Hopefully, my participation in the study demonstrated that  I was not "wasting my cancer".  Perhaps I will have many opportunities in the future to minister to others as God opens doors.  I would encourage you to read John Piper's "Don't Waste your Cancer".  It is available at: 

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