Tim Keller shares cancer update: 'God has worked through your prayers and chemotherapy'

Pastor Tim Keller, founder and former pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City. | Courtesy of A. Larry Ross Communications

Christian author and Pastor Tim Keller shared a positive update regarding his cancer diagnosis, revealing that through “prayers and chemotherapy,” there has been a “significant decrease in size and number of tumors.”

“By giving you an update, I want to honor God and the many who have so faithfully prayed for me during my treatment for pancreatic cancer that began last May 2020,” Keller, 70, wrote in a Friday Facebook post.

“I was on chemotherapy for 14 rounds, and have had relatively mild side effects, although the neuropathy in my hands and feet increased over time. I’m hoping that will start to improve now that I have been downshifted to a less aggressive (and physically damaging) chemotherapy.”

The pastor revealed that since May, he’s had three CT scans, the latest of which took place on Feb. 8.

“The first two scans each showed a significant decrease in size and number of tumors. The February scan also showed that in an area that had previously had numerous nodules there are now none visible,” he wrote. 

“I still have cancer, but this is excellent news so we are rejoicing that God has worked through your prayers and chemotherapy to accomplish so much,” Keller continued. “What the future holds I do not know, but we will continue to trust His plan and allow Him to shepherd us along his chosen path.”

Keller, who stepped down as senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan in 2017, is also a survivor of thyroid cancer. He wrote about his journey with the illness in his book, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering.

Despite his cancer diagnosis, Keller has continued to write, preach, and engage with current events. When he first revealed his diagnosis, Keller requested prayers that he could continue his work despite the side effects of the treatment.

In a November interview, the pastor admitted his “greatest fear” is returning to the spiritual state he was in prior to his diagnosis, as he’s learned to truly depend on God amid his illness. 

[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.

"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]."

Despite believing that God is in control, people often don’t fully embrace that belief "until life gets beyond your ability to control it,” the bestselling author said. It is in those moments of pain when people acknowledge that God “really is there” and that He is “enough.”

Keller noted 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, and we just don't want to go back to that.”

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