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?
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.