New York City pastor and author Tim Keller says God is strengthening him and teaching him valuable lessons about life and faith as he battles stage four pancreatic cancer.
Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the author of numerous books, including Hope in Times of Fear, says in a series of new social media posts that suffering is drawing him closer to God.
“I have Stage IV pancreatic cancer,” Keller tweeted. “But it is endlessly comforting to have a God who is both infinitely more wise and more loving than I am. He has plenty of good reasons for everything he does and allows that I cannot know, and therein is my hope and strength.
“... [H]aving a God who in some ways is beyond our comprehension (esp regarding evil and suffering) is more of a spiritual strength than it is an intellectual problem.”
I have Stage IV pancreatic cancer. But it is endlessly comforting to have a God who is both infinitely more wise and more loving than I am. He has plenty of good reasons for everything he does and allows that I cannot know, and therein is my hope and strength.— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) December 3, 2021
Keller later added, “Suffering awakens us out of our haunted sleep of spiritual self-sufficiency into a serious search for the divine.”
Suffering awakens us out of our haunted sleep of spiritual self-sufficiency into a serious search for the divine.— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) December 9, 2021
Keller was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2020 and has undergone chemotherapy to fight the disease.
His wife, Kathy, said this week that his health was improving.
“Through God’s mercy and your prayers, there has been remarkable improvement in the last 18 months – in fact, his doctors are using words like ‘fantastic’ and ‘dramatic’ to describe the progress,” she wrote on his Twitter feed. “Your prayers are working!”
Kathy Keller requested prayer “for continued effectiveness of the treatment with even fewer side effects” as he begins a new round of chemotherapy this week.
“Thanks again for the outpouring of love and support. We are grateful and ask for your continued prayers,” she wrote.
Tim Keller penned a column in March for The Atlantic in which he discussed how the cancer diagnosis impacted his outlook on life and death. The column was titled, “Growing My Faith in the Face of Death.”
“As God’s reality dawns more on my heart, slowly and painfully and through many tears, the simplest pleasures of this world have become sources of daily happiness,” Keller wrote. “It is only as I have become, for lack of a better term, more heavenly minded that I can see the material world for the astonishingly good divine gift that it is.”
Keller retired as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in 2017 and now chairs Redeemer City to City, a pastor training program.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.