You may have noticed that I refer to myself as a cancer warrior, not the more widely accepted and commonly used term cancer survivor.
Consider these excerpts from John C. Maxwell in his inspiring and challenging book, Be All You Can Be: A Challenge to Stretch Your God-Given Potential (published in 1987 and currently available as a Kindle eBook for 2.99 on Amazon) …
“The desire to survive keeps us at a mediocre level of living – it eats away at our conviction until we find it too easy to compromise and next to impossible to confront.”
“People who try to survive lose what they tried to keep. Whatever the survivor holds tightest he loses.”
“Our desire to survive saps our freedom and joy in the Lord.”
“Our desire to survive hinders us from completely obeying God.”
“Our desire to survive robs us of the power and blessings of God.”
I totally realize the words above were not written in regards to cancer survivors … nevertheless I think there is truth hidden in their midst.
The battle … the fight with cancer and the subsequent results vary so widely. Some folks are faced with aggressive cancer and have but weeks or months to live to fight. Others battle cancer for years and deal with complications for the duration with no relief. Some folks battle cancer and overcome it totally and completely. And some battle cancer and suddenly find themselves in the midst of a truce and a time of peace … thank you Lord! And there are so many more variations …
Regardless … God is in the midst of each and every moment!
Regardless … we are called to fight to the finish line … note Paul’s words to Timothy as death approached …
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
When I first learned of the cancer attacking my colons and lungs, initially I truly anticipated the quick arrival of death … yet I was at total peace with that outcome … frustratingly so to my wife … I found great comfort in these words …
“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21 (ESV)
Too often we view death as defeat … not gain. As believers faced with cancer, we need to view both life and death as victories … and without a doubt we need to embrace the truth … “to die is gain”.
Too often we view the trials and suffering of cancer as God’s curse … as a condemnation of wrong living. As believers enduring life through cancer, we need to realize God’s greatest works are not done in the midst of calm waters … they are done in the raging storm. Works that are perfecting and completing us …
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Please don’t think this post is about thinking positive … this post is about fighting to the finish line and about facing reality, regardless of the outcome, with faith and confidence IN God, in His promises, in His power and in the life … eternal life … life in the here and now as well as the hereafter … God has given each and every believer. And then finding God’s peace and joy … both beyond understanding … in the midst.
No, I don’t simply want to survive … I want to thrive. And many folks I have met that are winning (and quite a number that are losing) choose to thrive in the midst of their battle with cancer … they are warriors! And surprisingly … at least from a human perspective … they find themselves living an abundant life IN Christ Jesus … loving and being loved by God and their friends, family and church! Blessed beyond compare …
Merriam Webster defines warrior as a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill. Yes! Yes! YES!
So if you find yourself in a battle with cancer fighting with chemotherapy, don’t simply choose to survive … choose to thrive!
Fight the good fight my friend … be a cancer warrior!
Absolutely overcome by the love of God in the midst!