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cancer was not wasted


My mom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer early this summer.  The day she called and informed me, “Yes Beth it is in fact cancer” was a wake up call. 

Although cancer is a possible reality for us all, there is not a way to adequately brace yourself for those words.

I cried all afternoon. There were so many unknowns.

Has it spread? What does rare form mean? What is the staging? Will her liver be able to process all the toxins from chemotherapy?

Then God’s word took a hold of me.

He gives his children good things. And that day I resolved, this is from the Lord, for my mother’s good, in life or in death, it must be for her good. Therefore this time cannot be wasted.

I went home that night and called my mom. She was preparing dinner as usual and my dad was preparing for his men’s study as usual. There was a since of peace and rest that came over me, knowing my parents were obviously resting in grace that night, in spite of the serious news.

I read my mom an article by John Piper entitled “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” I listed the points below. I began to pray these things over my mom and over my own heart.

  1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
  2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
  3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
  4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
  5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
  6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
  7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.
  8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.
  9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.
  10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.


After a long and painful summer, we received the news yesterday that my mom is cancer free, by God’s grace. I can also say in the same breath, this cancer was not wasted.

From day one, my mom believed this is from the hand of the Lord and, therefore, a gift. She persevered through the nausea, vomiting, isolation, and weakness trusting that He who provided life for her in seventh grade, will also provide for her in this season. She never grieved, as one without hope, knowing perfectly well, this could take her life.

Perhaps for me the most profound thing I thought about was my own mortality.  Though I am 24 years old, I realize I am not promised tomorrow.I have spent much of this summer thinking about death, and I think that is a good thing.

The majority of us, at some point, will hear the words, “We have done all we can do, I am sorry.” I have thought about life when the Lord takes Lee home and I have thought about life for Lee when the Lord takes me home.

Though these are hard sobering thoughts, it is a reality. There have been days when I think about death that I am almost paralyzed by it. My relief, being reminded of the glory of Jesus.

I sat through church two Sunday’s ago and listened to a sermon out of Isaiah 6.

We talked about the fact that Isaiah saw Jesus as King at that moment, hundreds of years before his coming as a humble carpenter. I felt my heart being awakened simply by hearing this truth.

In any circumstance, all my efforts and focus must be specifically put on Him – that I may find rest in life and, all the more confidently, in death.

I thank my mom’s cancer for my wrestling with this. Her cancer has not been wasted.

I pray that if I hear those words, “Beth, it is cancer,” I would fight as well as my mom has. She has passed down a legacy of faith from her parents to me.

Mom, I know you miss her, and I am sorry you had to go through this without her, but Grandma would be proud of the way you represented the Savior she loves so much and enjoys even this day.

  1. October 3, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    My dear daughter,

    You expressed it so well. God is good and reaffirmed His goodness every step of the way. All I can say is, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” I love you and am grateful that God has seen fit to allow me to enjoy the blessings of grandmotherhood before I leave this world for His glory. stay well

  2. October 3, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Great words Beth. Very sobering. So glad your mom is clear.

  3. October 4, 2008 at 12:21 am

    What a beautiful post! If only more people could understand this very message.

  4. October 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I’m still just so grateful to God for Paula’s healing!! Thanks for writing about this, Beth.

  5. October 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Praise God, Beth! I love you so much, lil’ friend.

  1. October 3, 2008 at 4:57 pm

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