Living in Bonus Time: Surviving Cancer, Finding New Purpose, By Alec Hill alt

Living in Bonus Time

Surviving Cancer, Finding New Purpose

by Alec Hill

Living in Bonus Time
  • Length: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: January 07, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3500
  • ISBN: 9780830835003

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Cancer confronts us with our mortality. But cancer survivors find ourselves with a second chance for life. We grapple with profound questions: Why am I still here? How did I survive when others didn't? Where is God in all this? And how should I live differently now?

Those who experience and survive cancer live in bonus time, a season of grace that can be both disorienting and wonderful. In this honest and hopeful account, two-time survivor Alec Hill helps readers recalibrate expectations, grapple with survivor's guilt, and steward the opportunities for new purpose and growth. As counterintuitive as it may seem, cancer can transform us emotionally and spiritually into better people.

We are not the people we were before. Survivors and caregivers can discover how encountering death can bring us to a different kind of life.

"Most of us have wrestled with a loved one's death by cancer, and when surprised by life, we celebrate it. But Alec Hill takes us deeper. Diving beneath the surface of the good news of survival, he exposes the emotions and challenges when side-stepping death. And from his own journey and those of others, Alec teaches the cancer survivor how to thrive in the unexpected gift of bonus years. This, however, is not just a book for those surviving a life-threatening disease; Alec teaches us all how to live."

Sharol Hayner, coauthor of Joy in the Journey

"Alec Hill has been on the hero's journey into the valley that no one wants to visit but no one can avoid. This book reflects his vast gifts: an exceedingly learned and literate mind, a tenaciously thoughtful faith, and a rigorous commitment to honesty. It also contains gifts of the spirit: humility, gratitude, wonder, and acceptance. Reading it will bring healing to many and wisdom to even more."

John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Church and author of Eternity Is Now in Session

"Why should you read a book about cancer? Because four out of ten of us will get cancer in our lifetimes, and all of us will likely walk with a loved one fighting cancer. But you should read Alec Hill's new book for a different reason—because it is really about the precious gift of life. Living in Bonus Time will help you celebrate the life you've been given and maybe even reignite your sense of wonder and gratitude in the presence of the God who gives all of us life."

Richard Stearns, president emeritus of World Vision US, author of The Hole in Our Gospel and Unfinished

"Cancer lurks and devours lives every day. The diagnosis, treatment, and even post-treatment survival of cancer can be as life altering as the disease itself. Alec Hill knows this journey from the inside out. His candor, humility, faith, and love allow us all to peek in on this excruciating, mysterious, and all-too-common road. Whether cancer is our story or a loved one's, we are reminded again and again of the unexpected possibilities and realities of God's presence and grace, even on the cancer road."

Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, author of The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor

"Living in Bonus Time is a candid and inspiring firsthand account of the life-changing impact of cancer. Alec Hill offers a comprehensive overview of his journey from diagnosis to remission, incorporating wisdom from the stories of others and prompting guided reflection. Whether you have been personally touched by the disease, are supporting a loved one, or are simply seeking a deepened perspective on life, this book will provide what you seek and more."

Santa J. Ono, president of the University of British Columbia

"With raw emotion and vulnerability, rich wisdom, and biblical truth, Alec Hill confronts some of the biggest challenges of our day—suffering, fear, and control. Through his own cancer story and the stories of others, he inspires us toward growth, even in the most difficult seasons of life. This book will minister to your heart!"

Tom Lin, president and CEO of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA

"Cancer silences, frightens, and overwhelms. What Alec Hill does is give voice, courage, and strength to those in the midst of suffering and those who are caring for them. With the transparency and honesty of one who has been down in the pit, Alec's friendship and leadership in this space through Living in Bonus Time will strengthen many."

Sharon Cohn Wu, senior vice president at International Justice Mission

"Rarely do you get the opportunity to witness someone walking through what would later become the contents of a book. I, along with others, have had the unique privilege of serving with Alec Hill prior to his diagnosis, of being arrested by the announcement of his diagnosis, of praying fervently during the time of his treatment, and of rejoicing in his recovery. As one whose younger brother and dear mentor were called by the Lord to himself through cancer, I celebrate Alec's 'living in bonus time' and the lessons that have come from it. Whether you are a cancer patient, cancer survivor, or caregiving friend or family of someone with cancer, this book's honesty, humor, and hope will bless you."

Claude Alexander, senior pastor of the Park Church, Charlotte, NC, and past president of the Hampton University Ministers Conference

"Having survived the death of my twin sister after a fourteen-year journey with cancer, there are only two books I regularly recommend on cancer and grief and life. Now there are three. Alec Hill packs Living in Bonus Time full of not only his poignant personal story but also wisdom worth pondering, research worth knowing, quotes worth remembering, and stories of others that enlighten my own."

Anne Grizzle, family therapist and coauthor of Treasures in Ashes: Twin Discoveries from a Cancer Journey

"Alec Hill's engrossing story reminds me of how the Psalms include songs both of trial and tribulation, of victory and release. The Psalms were personal ('The Lord is my shepherd') and communal ('He heals all our diseases'). So Alec's story portrays both lament and recovery from disease as well as the terrible in-between times. It describes not just one person's courage but also how much we need each other, the power of community, when we go through life's dark passages."

Leighton Ford, president of Leighton Ford Ministries and author of A Life of Listening

"More than one in three people will get a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives. Alec Hill is one of those people. His clear-eyed chronicle of this journey—from the anxiety and fear at diagnosis, to the pain and isolation of treatment, and ultimately the guilt and joy of recovery—is infused with his experience of God's presence throughout. Alec opens his life to us with honesty and integrity, wrestling with and trusting in a God who rarely provides neat answers. His story provides wisdom for anyone who has experienced suffering or questioned God's plan."

Denise Daniels, coauthor of Working in the Presence of God and professor at Seattle Pacific University

"Heart-stoppingly honest and beautiful at the same time! Alec Hill shares his journey with cancer and provides a thoughtful, deeply insightful engagement with the universal questions: Why me? Is God good? Who am I? Alec, informed by a life seasoned with habits of faithfulness, navigates the abyss with honesty. A helpful resource for anyone trying to respond to unexpected interruptions in life."

Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action at the Sider Center

"As I reflect on the cancer death of my best friend—as well as my own near-death experience—this book takes me on a journey of hope in the midst of profound loss, joy mingled with pain, and faith emerging from despair. Living in Bonus Time challenges us with unfiltered honesty to be more compassionate, kind, and resilient in the midst of suffering. Alec proves to be a faithful mentor as he draws from his own story."

Shaila Visser, global senior vice president, Alpha International and national director, Alpha Canada

Read an Excerpt



Part I: Descending into the Pit
1. My Story
2. God's Presence on Dark Days
3. Why Me?
4. Survivor's Guilt

Part II: Navigating New Realities
5. The Illusion of Control
6. Depending on Others
7. Identity: Who Am I Now?

Part III: Living in Bonus Time
8. Survivor's Growth
9. Clarity of Purpose
10. Redeeming Time
11. Wonder

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Alec Hill

Alec Hill is president emeritus of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. He served for fourteen years as InterVarsity's president and previously was dean of the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University. He holds a law degree from the University of Washington and has written for the Huffington Post, Christianity Today, the Aspen Institute, and Patheos. He is the author of Just Business: Christian Ethics in the Marketplace. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife, Mary.