Not just a survivor: More than a conqueror

Romans 8--37

Today’s blog entry for June 3, 2018, the first Sunday in June, is posted in recognition of National Cancer Survivors Day. This observance has been 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.

This post focuses on what I call the Word of the Day, in this case, “survivor.” In its most literal sense, the term means “one who survives.” FreeDictionary.com offers this series of definitions of the verb “to survive” as an action verb that has an object to receive its action. In this case, to survive cancer:

  1. To live longer than; outlive.
  2. To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
  3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

The verb is derived from Latin: supervivere: combining the prefix super + vīvere, to live.

Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I have come to understand what it means to be a cancer survivor on a deeply personal level. I recognize a “survivor” as 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, I have been revived not only to survive but to thrive, having been transformed from victim to victor.

The true essence of who I am as a believer in Christ is expressed in Romans 8:37, the verse from which the subtitle of my forthcoming book based on my experience with cancer: Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror:

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

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; we prevail mightily every day of our lives.

Each year I reflect with gratitude to God for being alive and being able to cherish another year of life. As is my tradition, I sometimes compose a poem of celebration on my birthday. Most remarkably, Romans 8:37 was the epigraph or introduction for a poem composed on my 74th birthday, expressing my new identity in light of the Word for the Day for Cancer Survivors Day:

Not Just a Survivor                     

 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].

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

 

Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror,

Defying the odds as a brave conquistador.

Despite intense pressure I learn to rest in grace,

More than enough to withstand the daily tests I face,

Not merely to survive but to thrive even more.

 

A mighty warrior, triumphant super-victor

With a cause, prepared not to die but to live for.

At times I fell behind but fought to keep the pace:

Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror.

 

To fulfill all the will of God and then to soar

To heights sublime where I have never been before.

Overcomer, bearing light in the darkest place,

I still fight the good fight, as I finish my race,

Moving forward, seeking to find the next open door:

Not just a survivor, more than a conqueror.

We close with the Rend Collection reinforcing the message “More than Conquerors”:

This post is actually taken from the final chapter of the forthcoming book. Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror.  Go to lonnelledwardjohnson.com and subscribe to get more publication details. You can also get more details here at Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. Not just on Cancer Survivors Day, but as believers, we are more than conquerors every day and in every way.

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