23 Oct Surviving or Thriving
At what point does one officially become a cancer survivor?
I believe that anyone who has had cancer is a survivor from the very moment they receive the diagnosis. News like that could have literally scared me to death. But it didn’t. Then I began thinking about that word survive. The word actually means to “to remain alive, still breathing; to continue in existence or use.” To be honest, that definition didn’t thrill or comfort me. It’s sounded more like just barely getting through something by the skin of your teeth. I wanted to do so much more than just survive the thing. I wanted to have life and to flourish in that life. I wanted to thrive. As I sought God in His Word I learned that He not only wanted so much more for me out of this trial…but that He had even planned that there would be profound purpose to come from it.
The truth is that God wants us to do more than just simply survive our trials, whatever they may be. He wants us to get the overwhelming victory! Romans 8:37 says “…in all these things we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus who loves us.” The Old Testament stories tell us that a conqueror not only defeats his enemies, but that God allows the conquering army or person to plunder the opposing force: to take out or snatch away the goods and valuables from the enemy camp after a victorious battle. So what does that mean for you and me in the battles that we face? It means exactly this: When God’s in the fight, He takes the very thing that worked against you and makes it work for you.
When I realized the truth that God had so much more for me in this fight, I quickly told Him I wanted it all. My exact words to Him were, “If we are going to do this cancer thing, then let’s get it all done. Get rid of any and every “cancerous” bit of pride, jealously, unforgiveness, doubt, unbelief…whatever needs to be removed. Clean me out and clean me up! Do whatever it takes, but don’t let me stay the same. I want to be a different woman walking out of this than I walked in. Change me, Lord. Do a new thing in me. Let there be something more to come from this cancer… show Yourself off through my life Lord. Do it!”
That was my prayer. The battle was on. I assumed my position: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10); “Be strong and courageous…do not be frightened and do not be dismayed…” (Joshua 1:9a). And God assumed His position: “…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9b); “…for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:115b).
What is working against you right now? It might be that your kid just got busted for drugs. Maybe your spouse lost their job, or has left you for another person. Maybe it’s a financial crisis, or like me, a health crisis. Whatever it is… it can knock the life out of you. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; but I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” That’s thriving! Give that battle to God, let Him fight for you and help you to THRIVE! Here are a few practical first steps to take:
• Believe God’s Word and surrender your battle to the Lord saying something like this, “Take this, Lord. You’ve promised to fight my battle and I’m giving it to you!”
• Then assume your position and “know that He is God” by opening up His Word and getting to know Him in the pages of Scripture, and believing His TRUTH. He loves you! He’s crazy about you. And HE IS FOR YOU! (Romans 8:31).
• Talk to Him; confess your fear and thank Him for all He has done for you already. Philippians 4:6-7 gives us the antidotal formula for fear and anxiety: praying with thanksgiving.
OK, you can do this thing! God is on your side! Take your battle and give it to Him and He will turn it around, making it work for you and making it matter for Christ. That’s doing more than surviving it – that’s more than conquering it! That’s THRIVING in TRUTH!
I’ll continue my story in next week’s Making the Most of Now weekly devotional. Until then, never ever forget…
You are greatly and dearly loved by The King!