From time to time, instead of posting the Verse of the Day, I will offer comments under the Word for the Day. Such is the case today, in that I have chosen to examine the word “survivor” and touch upon its meaning and personal application. The word is especially suited for June 5, 2016, which has been designated as National Cancer Survivors Day.
Here is the opening paragraph from an Examiner.com article highlighting this event:
Observed annually on the first Sunday in June, National Cancer Survivors Day is set aside as a “Celebration of Life” for those who have survived a diagnosis of cancer. In events conducted in communities all over the nation and across the globe, those who celebrate show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful and rewarding, whether a cancer survivor, family member, or medical professional.
In its most literal sense, the Word of the Day, survivor means “one who survives.” FreeDictionary.com offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as a transitive verb, an action verb that has an object to receive its action. In this case, to survive cancer:
- To live longer than; outlive.
- To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
- To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.
The verb is derived from Latin: supervivere: combining the prefix super + vīvere, to live; to live above and beyond.
Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I have come to understand what it means to be a cancer survivor on a personal level. Within the past year, I have become involved in helping to establish The Survivors Ministry at Christian Provision Ministries (CPM) in Sanford, NC. The overall vision for CPM is “Changing Lives and Building Communities.” This particular ministry seeks to accomplish this objective by providing support for those diagnosed with cancer, their family members and others connected to these individuals.
“The Survivors Ministry” with its subtitle “Where recovery is glorified” provides a support system for those affected by cancer in an effort to improve their quality of life and reduce stress by accomplishing its objectives. Through this ministry and other connected support groups, I have grown in my understanding as to what it means to be a “survivor,” one who, after encountering an extremely adverse situation, is revived to not only survive but to thrive. Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of a “survivor,” endured the cross, despising the shame, and after undergoing unimaginable physical abuse, along with emotional and psychological trauma of the highest degree, arose triumphantly over death itself. Like Christ, we are revived not only to survive but to thrive, as we are transformed from victim to victor.
The true essence of who believers are in Christ is expressed in Romans 8:37(KJV):
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.
The Amplified Bible puts it this way:
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].
The expression “more than conquerors” is translated from the Greek verb hupernikao, a compound word with the prefix huper—a form of the same prefix found in “survive”—meaning over, beyond, above exceed, more than. Today, common expressions of the preposition would say “over and above” or “above and beyond.” The stem would be nikao, translated “to conquer, prevail, overcome, overpower, prevail.” Although translated as such, being “more than conquerors” or “super conquerors,” is not who we are, but it is what we do, how we live. We completely and overwhelmingly conqueror in the present tense with continuous action, as we prevail mightily every day of our lives.
Wayne Huff offers this powerful declaration found in Romans 8:35, 37-39: