QUICK HIT: The Hardest Peace is Kara Tippetts’ ongoing story of finding grace in the everyday and grappling with the struggles of cancer and of knowing that the end is inevitable. It’s a beautifully tragically wonderfully written story written by someone pouring their heart out into their words to leave a legacy that others can learn from and carry on.
What are you supposed to do when the big C…cancer…doesn’t stop at your door but comes barging right in like he owns the place, upsetting your life, your family, and very concept of “normal”? It doesn’t even have to be cancer. It could be D—depression—A—anxiety—or anything else in the terrible alphabet of suffering. How do you find peace amid suffering? How do you come to terms with an illness that’s terminal? What do you do when it all feels like too much?
Writing out of her own brokenness, Kara Tippetts, doesn’t give any answers to those questions but simply tells her own story and lets readers, through her experience, grapple with all the complexities and tragedies these questions entail. A few months ago, Brittany Maynard made headlines for choosing to “triumph” over her terminal brain cancer by choosing physician-assisted suicide. A day after that announcement Kara Tippetts wrote an incredible response.
Kara writes from the same place Brittany was. Stage IV cancer. Terminal. But from a vastly different perspective. The Hardest Peace is Kara’s ongoing story of finding grace in the everyday and grappling with the struggles of cancer and of knowing that the end is inevitable. It’s a beautifully tragically wonderfully written story written by someone pouring their heart out into their words to leave a legacy that others can learn from and carry on. Kara’s not some superhuman impervious to the implications of her disease. But she is someone who has learned the art of suffering well.
While there is poignancy in her specific condition, I was continually drawn back to the thought that all life is terminal. There’s not a person alive that—barring the return of Jesus himself—won’t end up dead at some point. Suffering, and the terminality of life, are constants. Kara actually has the advantage of knowing when…or at least closely. I’m not saying that as a trivial thing. We healthy humans live like immortals. Kara writes from a position all too aware of her own mortality and finding herself drawn closer to God through her experience of suffering.
Human beings have two options when it comes to suffering: run from God as the perceived source of pain or run toward God as the only solution. In The Hardest Peace, Kara Tippetts unabashedly runs toward her Creator. Her final chapter is filled with the things cancer has taught her. Wow. Just wow. I don’t know that I could do that. But it’s beautiful.
There were moments in this book that I cried for Kara, moments in this book that I cried for others I know who have lost loved ones to cancer. Then there were moments that I exulted. That I praised God for his blessings amid the storm, for his provision of his perspective, for making something beautiful out of something terrible. The Hardest Peace is not the easiest book to read. Through her powerful perseverance, Kara challenges readers to really appreciate their lives and find perspective in their pain. Kara went to be with Jesus in March of 2015. Her words and her passion live on in this book and at her blog Mundane Faithfulness.