‘My Fear Isn’t Dying, It’s Leaving My Wife Behind’: Tim Keller Speaks Out following Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

Written by on November 25, 2020

Pastor and Best-selling author Tim Keller is sharing how life has changed for him and his wife Kathy after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in June, christian Today reports.

In an interview with HTB Pastor Nick Gumbel, Keller explained how pancreatic cancer is “a difficult cancer to treat” and at the time of his diagnosis, his doctor bluntly said, “there’s virtually no cure for this.”

He added that there has been a “bit of a role reversal” between him and his wife as Kathy is usually the one under his care due to her struggle with Crohn’s disease.

“Now God has just decided well, we’re going to reverse the roles here and you’re both going to have to get used to what it means to trust me in this new role,” Keller said.

According to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the 1-year survival rate with pancreatic cancer is 20 percent. From there, the survival rate declines. According to Johns Hopkin, the 5-year survival rate with pancreatic cancer is between 5 and 10 percent. Keller, however, shared that since his cancer was caught early on, his chances of “keeping it at bay” for a longer period of time seemed to be “pretty good.”

“So it’s not likely right now that I would be dying within a year,” he said.

When asked if he had any fear surrounding his prognosis, Keller confessed that he and Kathy “cry just about every day” fearing that she could possibly end up living without him someday.

Keller told Gumbel, “My fear isn’t dying. My fear is actually leaving her behind and that’s her biggest fear as well. It’s a terrible fear.”

Nevertheless, the Kellers believe that if it happens, it’s because “there’s things that God has for her to do.”

On a positive note, the Kellers have tremendously benefited in their spiritual walks as they “never want to go back spiritually to where we were before the cancer diagnosis.”

“We never want to go back to that because in spite of all the things I’ve already preached, I wasn’t a hypocrite exactly, but the reality is that most of us say we need to depend on God but we actually think we’ve got it sorted,” Keller explained.

He added, “We feel like we’ve got everything under control because we’ve thought this out, we’ve got savings, we’ve got these people [in our life].”

Keller asserted that, despite believing that God is in control, people often don’t fully embrace that belief “until life gets beyond your ability to control it.” It is in those moments when people acknowledge that God “really is there” and that He is “enough.”

Keller notes that he is “actually happier” than he ever has been.

“I enjoy the things around me in a way that I’ve never enjoyed them before – I see them as gifts of God – and I enjoy my prayer life more than I ever have in my life.”

Photo courtesy: Tim Keller Facebook

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.

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