Celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day® on Sunday, June 5

Cancer affects everyone. With nearly seventeen million people living with and beyond cancer in the U.S. today and more than forty-three million cancer survivors, everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer. On Sunday, June 5, 2022, communities around the world will unite to recognize these cancer survivors and to raise awareness of the challenges of cancer survivorship, as part of the 35th annual National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration of Life.

In celebration of National Cancer Survivor Day, I am posting an excerpt from Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. When diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000, I did not see “a death sentence.” Instead, I saw a “life sentence” that transformed his thinking. The book provides my God-given, holistic strategy to overcome any adversity. Weaving original poetry and Scripture into my God-inspired battle plan, I show how I emerged, as not just a survivor but more than a conqueror.

I have revised and re-posted this entry that focuses on what I call the Word of the Day, which in this case is a 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.
  • To live, persist, or remain usable through any adverse situation.
  • To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after.

The verb comes 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 not only to 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 the 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 comes from Romans 8:37—”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” in the Greek New Testament comes from the 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, and 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 and every day I draw breath.

Embracing Your Life Sentence–More than a Conqueror

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)

Embracing Your Life Sentence, 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:

 Embracing Your Life Sentence, 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:

  Embracing Your Life Sentence, more than a conqueror.

We close with this powerful reminder of what we are as believers on National Cancer Survivors Day and every day: “More Than Conquerors” by Steven Curtis Chapman

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