Christians Say the Darnedest Things: God Gives People Cancer by John Piper

john piper sleep

What shall we say to these things? Something must be said because sickness and death are threats to faith in the love and power of God. And I regard it as my primary responsibility as a pastor to nourish and strengthen faith in the love and power of God. There is no weapon like the word of God for warding off threats to faith. And so I want us to listen carefully today to the teaching of Scripture regarding Christ and cancer, the power and love of God over against the sickness of our bodies.


I regard this message today as a crucial pastoral message because you need to know where your pastor stands on the issues of sickness, healing, and death. If you thought it was my conception that every sickness is a divine judgment on some particular sin, or that the failure to be healed after a few days of prayer was a clear sign of inauthentic faith, or that Satan is really the ruler in this world and God can only stand helplessly by while his enemy wreaks havoc with his children — if you thought any of those were my notions, you would relate to me very differently in sickness than you would if you knew what I really think. Therefore, I want to tell you what I really think and try to show you from Scripture that these thoughts are not just mine but also, I trust, God’s thoughts.


God controls who gets sick and who gets well, and all his decisions are for the good of his children, even if they may be very painful and long-lasting. It was God who subjected creation to futility and corruption, and he is the one who can liberate it again.

— John Piper, Desiring God, Jesus and Cancer, August 17, 1980


  1. ObstacleChick

    Another reason to add to the list of why the evangelical Christian God is an asshole – not a caring, kind, benevolent deity. (And by extension why his followers are assholes).

  2. Zoe

    John Piper makes me sick. His beliefs are a cancer.

  3. Troy

    Not sure how this would be a good reminder we are not God. After all, during the Genesis account God takes evenings off and then takes the seventh day off to rest. Despite omnipotence he takes 6 days to do it as well.

  4. That Other Jean

    That does make me wonder how much John Piper’s faith will be shaken when he or a family member gets life-threateningly sick. It’s easy enough to say that God controls who gets sick and who gets well for the good of His children when it’s not you or yours–but when it is?

    1. Matilda

      Yes, maybe a serious illness or crisis in Piper’s family might make him think differently. Sadly though, I think, if a loved one died, he’d go along the route of ‘god needed another angel’ and if that person died in great pain, in spite of oodles of prayer, he’d praise the lawd that person WITNESSED to a medic in the hospital…and on and on. If your god can never be wrong and always knows what’s best for you, you spend a long time tying yourself in knots to find reasons for bad things. The fact god doesn’t help, because he doesn’t exist doesn’t enter your brainwashed mind. (Well, till it does, that’s why many of us here are ex-xtians.)

  5. Dave

    Piper is the living embodiment of everything that is wrong with Christianity. Can you imagine if there really was a heaven and this arrogant bastard was your neighbor. You would beg to be sent to hell

  6. Brian

    I believe those who willingly enter into range of Piper’s voice be given reading material on the Stockholm Syndrome.


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