When the whistle blows at the beginning of a wrestling match, both competitors know that they will walk off the mat with one victorious and one defeated. No matter how long the match, no matter how great the struggle, there are no "ties" in wrestling. Whether you barely broke a sweat or you leave with fresh battle scars, it all boils down to getting your hand raised. It is the motivation for getting up at 6am for a sprint workout. It is the driving force behind the desire to endure the most grueling practices you can imagine. It is the essence of victory.
And here we are. I've been looking forward to "getting my hand raised" for 8 grueling months. They were some of the longest, most taxing months of my life, yet as sit here in retrospect, it all seems like it took place in the blink of an eye. Here at the end of treatment, it is easy to feel like I just gutted it out. It is tempting to feel that things like perspective and attitude were fruits of my own efforts. It's true... I did defeat cancer, but I cannot claim glory for myself.
Cancer is such a unique opponent. It is not selective in it's choosing. It takes any and all challengers regardless of age, physical fitness, wealth, or social status. But we can be honest. My particular diagnosis was not so life-threatening. This scenario made it easy for me to put my hope in doctors, in chemotherapy, and in radiation. But such a hope was falsely placed. Clearly, the Lord was capable of healing me right from the get-go, but He chose not to do that. He allowed the sickness to run its course, but then heal me through the use of those doctors and treatments. He had a plan for this situation to serve its purpose and enlarge my view (and the view of those around me) of His steadfast love and faithfulness. He instilled in me the peace that I would get my hand raised at the end of this; it was just a matter of time. He was the one who conquered.
But the mere fact that treatment is over and I am healthy doesn't mean that the battle has been won, for this struggle was against something greater than just cancer. There is victory because my story (as a part of the big picture) ends well. There is victory because Satan's efforts to bring despair and fear have failed miserably. There is victory because this circumstance brought about the glory of the one who allowed it to happen. I am not so ignorant to think that I will never have to endure suffering again and that there are still many battles to be fought. But I am encouraged because we will never be put to shame and hope is never out of reach because we serve the Almighty God who never allows His love and faithfulness to leave us:
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39)
These are words to live your life by. Scripture tells us that there is absolutely nothing in all of God's creation that can separate us from Him. Not one single thing! That alone is motivation enough to fight the good fight.
I must thank each and every one of you for your prayer and support since Day 1. You all have been the most tangible example of the Body of Christ that I have ever experienced and I just don't have the words to express my gratitude! There is so much of the story that is yet untold, so I will do my best to spread some hope as it unfolds. I encourage you to do likewise.
Victorious through HIM,