cancer survivor or cancer warrior?


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!



About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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2 Responses to cancer survivor or cancer warrior?

  1. jimdavenport says:

    Bernie, you are indeed a warrior … not just a Cancer Warrior … BUT a Warrior for Christ! What you have written here is an encouragement to all Christians … Regardless of their circumstances. It most certainly applies to me with or without infirmities. Our little great grandson, Sawyer Joshua Murphy, lived only 18 days. He, too, was a Warrior! Thousands were touched by his story. God can use all of our circumstances to further His Message without our permission. Our best course as Christians is to line up on God’s side and serve as His warrior! We cannot lose when we are on God’s side! Jim D. PS – I will be sharing your post with some of my followers as several are in similar circumstances and would profit from your experience.

    • bwebbjr says:

      All praise, honor and glory to God … Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Paul testified, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives IN me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith IN the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 The truth so aptly taught by Jesus, “Abide IN me, and I IN you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides IN the vine, neither can you, unless you abide IN me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides IN me and I IN him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 The mutual indwelling … I am simply emotionally overcome by these passages of Scripture … If we truly believed that God Himself … Almighty God … Creator and Lord of all … not only loves us but comes to live in and through us … if we only believed that truth Jim, nothing … absolutely nothing … would keep us from embracing these words of Jesus … “I have said these things to you, that IN me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. BUT TAKE HEART; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Thank you Lord Jesus … Thank you!


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