DayBreaks for 7/19/18: Don’t Waste Your Bypass
From the DayBreaks archive, July 2008:
If you’ve been a DayBreaks reader for some time, you almost certainly know that I had a quad bypass at 49 years of age. I wasn’t overweight, my cholesterol wasn’t bad – but my genes were/are! I remember as a young child reading stories from Reader’s Digest about the first heart bypass operations and the amazing heart/lung machine. I was fascinated by the stories and the technology, thinking it was wonderful – but I certainly never thought I’d be on the receiving end of it.
Recently, Marvin Olasky, editor in chief of WORLD Magazine, found himself unexpectedly undergoing a bypass operation of his own. Like mine, his was unexpected. In the June 28 – July 5 issue, he wrote about his experience and the impact it had on his life. I will vouch for what he says: it is an experience that DOES make you contemplate life – and death – and the things that are important and the things which are not.
John Piper, a pastor and author from Minneapolis, was facing cancer surgery when he pointed out that “The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on Him.” Olasky then goes on with some of his own musings and more of Piper’s thoughts: “Amen – because even if we take heart in percentages when we should not, we know that the long-range certainty (unless Christ returns first) is 100 percent fatality. It’s disconcerting to attain the label ‘cardiac patient.’ But here’s chapter 40 of Isaiah: ‘All flesh is grass…the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.’”
“Bottom line: if you look in the mirror and see yourself as anything other than a future cardiac, or cancer, or something else patient, you’re fooling yourself. Piper writes, ‘You will waste your cancer if you think that beating cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ….You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.’
“One of Piper’s most intriguing comments: ‘You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before…Pride, greed, lust, hatred, impatience, laziness, procrastination….All these things are worse enemies than cancer. Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes. Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are.’
Piper concludes, “You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ. Here is a golden opportunity to show that He is worth more than life. Don’t waste it.”
We often think of suffering as a way in which we learn valuable lessons. If you are facing cancer, cardiac disease or some other illness, or even if you’re just facing “life” (isn’t it interesting how we describe ourselves as facing life instead of facing death – when as Olasky noted, that’s the 100% certainty we all face), don’t waste the lessons that come with a whiff of fatality.
PRAYER: Thank You, God, for the valuable lessons and reminders of the real certainties. May we not run in fear from the valuable lessons that You send our way, but learn from them that we might live each day more wisely! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.