To Fight or to Surrender?

Fight or SurrenderIt’s an individual choice to fight or to surrender.  With cancer, I mean.  No one can make the choice for you.  You must decide for yourself.

When cancer came knocking on my door, I wasn’t mad or bitter.  I was confused … shocked … bewildered.  Devastated.  I knew I could die and that there was a real battle ahead to save my life, but somehow, I didn’t feel like I was the one to fight that battle.  Oh, be assured:  I’d show up for every skirmish, every time the battle lines and swords were drawn!  I’d go to every appointment, take every treatment, get a portacath for chemo, shave my head, paint on eyebrows, and yes, look at the battle wounds and scars that stare me in the face every morning from the vantage point of my bathroom mirror.

But me fight?  No, not me.  Instead I choice the path of surrender.

I know everyone doesn’t choose surrender.  I listen to those who talk about their enemy cancer and how they fight it.  I hear their voices and see their fists raised in battle.  And I don’t judge their choice to fight.  As I said, it’s up to every cancer sufferer and I can’t recommend surrender for anyone else.  But for me, I was better off, safer, when I simply fell back, surrendering into the arms of my Savior.  I know cancer is my enemy, but when I am surrendered into the arms of my Savior Jesus, I see both the battle and my enemy in a fuller view.  I see the battle as belonging to the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:15) and I see my enemy as … well, an unwelcome benefactor.

When I chose surrender over fighting, my energies were spent viewing my cancer from an expanded perspective.  I saw not just the battle, but the beauty.  I found odd and unexpected benefits coming my way from this deadly enemy.  At the end of each day, because I was not exhausted from the battle, but just tired from the treatment, I could see the better even beautiful parts of the day more clearly than the awful parts.  I wasn’t mad … I was strangely peaceful with the battle raging around me but me in the center of it all surrendered into the arms of my Savior and His perfect will for me.  Cancer may have waged war with me but I backed up and into Jesus and let Him step forward and do the battle for me.

To fight or to surrender?  With cancer, I mean.  I chose surrender.  What about you?  I’d love to hear from anyone who has suffered with cancer.  What’s been your choice and why?



Breast Cancer Cancer Suffering Surrender

revcathieyoung View All →

After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I never saw it that way Cathie…. the Fight or Surrender. FOR ME, it was just .. It happened to me. Shock and fear of the unknown, and many others rushed in right away. Of course, if we could slow the beginning down and have time to process a bit, I may of done it all better.
    I tell a story , it goes like this…. I am driving down a country road at night and it has many turns and twists in it. I wold love to have the BRIGHT LIGHTS on but it is foggy out, so I can’t see very well. But instead I am limited to the DIM LIGHTS and take it a bit easy and have to trust in MY GOD. I want the Bright Lights on so that I can everything around me. Little did I know, it was God keeping the lights dim, so that it all wouldn’t overwhelm me. I like to feel that I can handle all that life brings because I am a child of His. Well, lesson learned again. I had no choice to let go and fall into His arms again.
    Surrender is a new term for me to call it … but that is what I did also. Maybe not over night, or even soon enough, but after many appt’s, procedures and a year long ,weekly appts to the Cancer Center, I leaned into God more and more to surrender it all to him and FEEL THE PEACE THAT COMES WITH IT!
    Cathie S.

    • Sweet Cathie!
      Loved this because it said it all! I never thought about “surrender” but that is what I did in a way…I knew I had no choice but to live for my family and that was the answer – so I surrendered to certain treatments that would give me that and I knew that I would be OK. As I look back on my naivety during this time of cancer I am even more convinced of God’s intervention. I remember when I first got the diagnosis and knowing that God was with me and that all was going to be all right – though those around me were not so convinced. God used me to administer to others in ways I didn’t realize at the time but have seen as the years have gone by and my own attitude has been convicted by this “adversity”. Sometimes I think we need a wake-up call and that was what mine was and for that I am ever grateful! I never begrudge what has happened but embrace it as something that God gave me to help me and others come closer to Him!

      • Betsy. You were such an important part of my early diagnosis days. Such an encouragement. Such a light. Thank you for this. Like you, I do not begrudge what has happened. I love you.

  2. I too surrendered when diagnosed with Stage 3 Esophagus cancer. I allowed my prayer friends to pray for me; for my sister in New Orleans and best friend from Chicago to fly up to minister to me; for even my mom to “come help” all the way from England.

    I had an advantage, right after being diagnosed, I heard the Voice of God say “this is not unto death” so I relaxed into sure knowledge and let the radiation, chemo and lack of energy waft over me and then it was done.

    I’m 5 yrs cancer free as of this month. Yes, there are residual bits but the gifts I received during it: reconciliation with my sister, weight lost and hasn’t returned; focus on what’s important (hint – it wasn’t work!).

    The other distinct message I got was that the prayers of my “boys” in KS prison were THE main instruments God used to heal. I was able to testify to them that THEIR prayers were important; they were important and used by God despite their circumstances. Encouragement!

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