Larry Burkett was an American author and radio personality whose work focused on financial counseling from an evangelical Christian point of view.
Born-again Larry left his electronics company to join the staff of a nonprofit ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ, as a financial counselor. In 1976 Larry left Campus Crusade to form Christian Financial Concepts (CFC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching the biblical principles of handling money. In September 2000, CFC merged with Crown Ministries, creating a new organization, Crown Financial Ministries. Burkett served as Chairman of the Board of Directors until his death. Burkett died of heart failure after a long battle with cancer and other health problems.
His book, Hope When It Hurts, contains many advices to fellow Christians who are facing life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. After all, the author himself had surgery to remove his cancerous kidney and shoulder blade. After reading though this wonderful book, I was much taken aback by his sound, down to earth advice. I have learned and was blessed by his advice and outlook about what it means having to go through life with cancer. To my Christian friends, I say — Read this book!
Here are some quotations from Larry’s book.
Peace with God
- In the years since I was diagnosed with cancer, I can honestly say that God has been good to me. He hasn’t chosen to rescue me from this difficulty but rather, has sustained me through it.
- I have never asked God WHY this happened. It really doesn’t matter why. Instead, I have asked WHAT God would have me to do as a result of having cancer.
- We’re all going to die some day; that is NOT a choice. We can choose to live in fear or anger or pity or in the peace of God. that’s OUR choice. I choose to live in God’s peace, enjoying each and every day as best I can. I sincerely pray that all of God’s people will choose to do the same. Happiness REALLY is a choice.
- There are times when I was afraid … I trusted God and still felt afraid. Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown. Usually the things we fear are those things that haven’t happened yet. Almost all of us are able to cope with the present, no matter how good or how bad it might be. Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
- Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to look fear in the face and proceed with your life.
- When emotional storms raged in my heart, I prayed to Him with words similar to the disciples, “Lord, don’t you care what’s happening?” He did and He blessed me with His peace. My testimony to you is that God is in control. He is holy. He is righteous. He is completely sovereign. He never makes a mistake and He is completely worthy of your trust.
- (After cancer diagnosis) … I knew that as long as God wanted me on this earth and He had a plan for my life, nobody could take me. And when God’s plan for my life was finished and God no longer wanted me here, nothing could keep me here … That’s why I … always temper my prayers with the caveat “if it is Your will.”
- Most of all I asked the Lord for peace, His peace. I have experienced a lot of trauma in my life, and I know what it’s like to live with God’s peace and without it.
- To receive a blessing from the Lord in your time of need, I point you to John 14:27, John 16:33 and Philippians 4:4-7.
- Often God uses natural things to rescue His people. They are not always those instantaneous, miraculous answers that we see sprinkled through God’s word.
- We helped one another to be strong. When one of us got down, the others comfort, console, encourage and pray…That’s why God put other people in the world to be able to help you when you aren’t functioning at 100 percent.
What will happen to the ministry if I die?
- So what does happen to a major Christian ministry when the leader becomes gravely ill …or dies? That was on my mind, as well as the minds of many of our supporters.
- The ministry of Christian Financial Concepts is not my invention or my creation. Instead, this ministry exists because of a calling from God … As is the norm in our society, people give praise and accolades to teachers and writers, but I have tried over the years not to let that go to my head because … we’re stand-ins for what the Lord wants to accomplish.
- If the ministry is built solely on me, and if it cannot survive without me, then it’s not the work of God. I have consistently told my staff: “This is God’s ministry and He will supply our needs. The day He stops supplying our needs is the day we will close our doors, because there will no longer be a need for what we do.”
Note: Many people (and I too) have asked a similar question, What is going to happen to CA Care when Chris Teo is gone! Yes, the answer is with Go. We are just His stewards. My wife and I are just as happy to close CA Care ANYTIME if this is His will — Let your will be done, Lord.
Prayers Make A Difference
- I cannot overstate how much it meant to know that God’s people were praying for me. I could literally feel their prayers. I could sense God’s hand upon me.
- Though God didn’t remove the tumours supernaturally, He certainly did provide what He promised to me, and that was His peace. I believe it came as a direct result of God’s people caring and praying.
- When ask how could (others) pray for me, I replied with four items: that God would grant my doctors mercy and grace in the upcoming surgery; that the cancer would not return; that God would sustain us in His supernatural peace; and that He would use the circumstances to draw us closer to Him.
Why People Become Ill
- I personally believe there are at least four reasons why people become ill.
- First, we live in aging bodies in a fallen world, which results in sickness and suffering. If I drive my car long enough, I know the parts must eventually be replaced and the same is true with our bodies.
- Second, some people get sick because of sinful behaviour which is, in fact, harmful to their bodies.
- Third, God allows an illness to come upon people for the benefit of the kingdom of God. Obviously God didn’t cause (the) injury, but He allowed.
- Fourth, God sometimes allows Satan to buffet Christians to determine the caliber of their faith. The clearest example of that in Scripture is Job.
- The idea that no Christian should ever be sick or experience any kind of problem …. except as the result of unconfessed sin, is not biblical and it comes very close to heresy. Certainly God “allowed” .. . cancer because He knows about everything that happens to each of us. Probably none of us will know WHY these things happen. But I don’t believe that God goes around zapping His people with disease as a reminder of their previous sin.
- Be careful when you box God into one, and only one, way of responding. He is sovereign, meaning He is completely free to rule and act as He chooses. He is not a magical genie to be called out of an old lamp to rescue us upon demand.
- We also can be presumptuous with God when we conclude that only good things happen to His people. I disagree with the basic premise that bad things never happen to good people.
- If you are building your Christian foundations on the idea that your commitment to God will automatically insulate you from suffering here on earth, you’re in for a big shock.
- …Even if you have cancer or some other terminal illness, live in such a way that others can detect the hope that is within you, and then be prepared to tell the reasons behind your hope… Don’t be phoney about it; just ask God to grant you joy and peace in your affliction.
- Let God’s grace and strength transform what looks like a problem for you into an opportunity to witness to other people.
- It’s true that we can be discouraged, but we’re never in despair … Our Lord promised: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18.
- God is faithful. He is a forgiving God. God is merciful. He cares about the pain and suffering you are experiencing, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Trust Him and He will give you peace.
Thoughts from Judy Burkett
- Few things in life are as upsetting as having a loved one facing a serious or life-threatening illness and not knowing what the outcome will be.
- It didn’t occur to either of us to ask God, “Why is this happening?” Instead … we began to focus more on “How are we going to cope with this?”
- We prayed steadily that God would give us His peace in the midst of the turmoil.
- There are times when we worried and were upset. And we prayed for God’s peace on my occasions, particularly when we were afraid or things seemed to be spinning out of control. And the results seemed to be the same each time: We felt like God was literally holding us in the palm of His hand.
- So if you’re in turmoil right now … let me encourage you to diligently seek God’s peace. Pray specifically for it, and ask others to pray for you.
- Knowing .. that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11) we did not assume that Larry has “special status” with the Lord. Sometimes God heals people outright; at other times, though faithful, godly saints succumb to serious illnesses.
- God, show us the way. …Our prayers was for God to supply wisdom and guidance to us… we faced many decisions without the luxury of time to think them over.
- We needed wisdom to clearly discern what God was responsible for and what we were to take responsibility over.
- Clearly discerning the things God was responsible for helped us to identify the things we need to relinquish to Him: the first was Larry’s life. Neither I, the doctors, nor anyone else could keep Larry here on earth one second longer than God desired. That’s one major issue I had to give back to the Lord. Doing so also relieve a great deal of pressure, because that meant God, and no one else, was responsible for keeping Larry alive.
- God, give us strength. Coping with a medical crisis is exhausting. Sleep patterns are interrupted. Comfortable daily routines get cast aside. Watching a loved one hurt is hard work too. … we assumed the posture of faith — trusting God to meet our needs and to supply what we could not supply ourselves. And true to His Word, God raised us up and enabled us to endure days that we never thought we’d see the end of.
- God, you will be done. Our deepest desire was that God would be glorified through the circumstances we faced. I know that’s easier said than done.
- I conclude with this thought: God made you. He knows what you can and cannot handle. He promises never to give you a burden you cannot bear without a way of escape. When you find yourself overwhelmed and exhausted by the stress of it all, you may well be taking on more than God want you to assure. Remember, you’re just a part of God’s plan.
Words from CA Care to All Patients
You and I have to die one day. We cannot
run away from this reality. It is how we die that matters. If you can eat,
can sleep, can move around and have no pain; what more can we ask for? You want
a cure, but there is no cure! Let us learn to be grateful for what we are each day.
Cancer — What to do next?
Larry Burkett’s Cancer Experience: The Undemocratic and Monopolistic American Medical System for Cancer Treatment