I recently read an article by John Piper called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”. It really got me to thinking. I don’t want to waste my husband’s cancer. His first point was: You will waste your cancer if you do not believe God designed it for you. What God permits, He permits for a reason. And that reason is His design.


This is a hard one, but I know I have to accept that God not just allowed but designed Chuck’s cancer for him. 


Piper also said, “The aim of God in our cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on Him.”  God certainly did this to me with Chuck’s cancer. Chuck was so many things for me and one was my spiritual head here on earth. He so many times pointed me gently to Christ when I was struggling. Now, I have to lean on God in a way that I never have before. 


Even before I read Piper’s article, I was uncomfortable with expressions about beating cancer. I would wonder about the people with such bravado and what happened when they didn’t beat it. Chuck didn’t beat it in the sense the world looks at it, but he truly did in death. He no longer has cancer.  


God has been so gracious to me in my grief. It’s been 19 months. I tear up 4-5 times a week and I have a good cry every two weeks or so. I still feel so lonely, especially at night. I still long for Chuck’s voice, his touch, his wisdom in decision making. But, God has brought me to a new place for a reason. He has given me a place to serve, a place to work, a family to care for. I don’t want to waste Chuck’s cancer. I want to honor him and honor God with the time I have left here on earth.


Angie Bell was born in Georgia but raised in Florida to where she recently returned after six years in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a former teacher who loves hiking, photography, and writing, often combining all three.

After planning for several years, working on a way to live on a shoestring budget, Angie’s husband of 41 years put in for early retirement so they could move back home. They put their house on the market and had a contract within four days. Less than two weeks later her husband was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. They decided to transfer his care and move back to Jacksonville, Florida, renting a furnished apartment and hoping for a miracle. One month later he was gone. After her third move in less than a year, Angie is now in Tampa where her grandchildren live, trying to find her way in her new life. God, in His mercy, has put numerous other widows in her life and a new empathy for this sisterhood she never would have chosen.