Larry Burkett, who died July 4 in Gainesville, Georgia, was a kind of financial guru for many evangelicals. His 70-plus books sold more than 12 million copies, and his four radio programs were broadcast on more than 2,000 stations worldwide. But in recent years, Burkett's writing turned from freeing Christians from debt to freeing them from fear of disease. Two of his most recent books told the story of his own battle with kidney cancer, and his seeking treatment through both traditional and alternative means on two continents.
Burkett did not die of cancer, but of heart trouble. In fact, he received a diagnosis that he was free of his kidney cancer a week before his death. In his final book, Nothing to Fear: The Key to Cancer Survival /(Moody, 2003), Burkett laid out the lessons he learned during his treatment—including coming to terms with his own mortality.
When I was first diagnosed with my shoulder problem, I went to several orthopedists. Every one of them misdiagnosed my problem. One said it was bursitis, another diagnosed it as a rotator cuff tear, and still another said it was arthritis. The last orthopedist I saw was absolutely convinced he knew what the problem was. He wanted to do arthroscopic surgery on my left shoulder to trim some of the small bone that goes under the collarbone. He was convinced that would fix the problem. He was a nice guy and very persuasive.
We actually scheduled the surgery for about three weeks from the time I last saw him. I committed to pray about it, just to be sure I had God's wisdom and peace. However, I didn't. In fact, I didn't have any peace about it at all; the closer we got to the time for surgery the less peace I had and the more confused I was. I thought I was holding to ...