Patient: Don’t Waste Your Illness

Two weeks ago I had posted about the importance of cultivating character on and off the field with our children. Parents: Don’t Waste Their Sports was written after re-reading C.J. Mahaney’s little booklet Don’t Waste Your Sports.

You’ll want to check that one out, especially if you have children in competitive sports. It is quite possible that you’ll need something to reset your heart this fall during game-time. Something preventative. Otherwise, we’re likely to turn sports into an emotionally ugly and overly competitive event. (At least, that’s my story.)

product_permalinkAnother helpful read comes from John Piper: Don’t Waste Your Cancer. It was written just prior to his prostate-cancer surgery in 2006; and first appeared as an appendix in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.

If you are suffering with a serious (and perhaps, life-threatening) illness, then you’ll want to sit down and feed your soul these words. Without a doubt, it’s applicable to anyone who has been touched by poor health.

Here’s a brief outline of what you will find in it. Ten reasons to not waste your illness or cancer:1

First, you will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.

Second, you will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

Third, you will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

Fourth, you will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

Fifth, you will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

Sixth, you will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

Seventh, you will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

Eighth, you will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

Ninth, you will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

Tenth, you will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Personally, I have found great wisdom and comfort in these main points. While my ulcerative colitis is in remission, and my adult health—as I write this—is at its best ever, I know that I could possibly face those difficult days again.

So I don’t want to waste this chapter of good health. Even if it is a short one. And if (or when) the page turns to a new chapter with perhaps different challenges, my prayer is that I will not waste those days either.

You can read the booklet (with additional material from David Powlison) in its entirety here.


 Piper, John. Don’t Waste Your Cancer. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011).