I’ve had some news lately that has the potential to send me back into my bat cave. But instead I’ve decided to fight back - and part of my strategy is to study the Art of War. So this is my version of the Sun Tzu classic. Please…come with me on this journey.
By its very definition, 'WAR' does not consist of one big battle and then BAM it’s all over. If that were the case it would just be called a fight. No….. WAR involves the big picture, countless scenario’s, and many battlefields. And while there may be a feature fight where most of the damage is done and victory or defeat is declared, it never ends on that one battlefield. Even after the main event there are still skirmishes as the victors work to claim or reclaim their territory. Yes?
That’s the way I see this cancer thing. In fact that’s the way I see life in its entirety. Lets begin with the first statement –
“That’s the way I see this cancer thing” Being diagnosed, and removing an entire piece of my body in an effort to rid it of breast cancer was a BIG battle. And the good news is we won. We were the victors at the end of the day….no more breast cancer THANK GOD. It was nipped in the bud right on time (excuse the pun). But…just because we won that battle, doesn’t mean the troops get to pack up and cruise on home. No, when its war-time the soldiers need to keep up their defences, stay on guard, and ready themselves for the next offensive – until that particular war is officially declared OVER by the General Himself. Reclaiming your territory can be hard work, especially when the enemy is hell bent on standing its ground and fighting to occupy that which belongs to you.
Enter battlefield No. 2, where the cancer we thought was defeated spreads itself out to the lymph nodes. Not a nice battle but not as big as the last one, however vicious enough to cause grievous bodily harm. But lets put this into perspective...its just a skirmish and not the make or break of this war. To win this skirmish more surgery is urgently needed, which means more recovery time on top of existing recovery. This little skirmish is kitten food to battle hardened soldiers. In other words, we are well prepared. “The great warriors of old not only won victories, but won them with ease. Because their victories were achieved without apparent difficulty, they did not bring them great fame for their wisdom, or respect for their courage. Being prepared for all circumstances is what ensures certain victory, for it means you are fighting an enemy that is already beaten” (The Art of War by Sun Tzu).
Enter battlefield no. 3, where intravenous chemotherapy is really the only option and will, without any doubt, severely injure many of the soldiers. Some may even loose their hair. But some have bigger things to worry about, like heart failure for example. This skirmish is one of those ones that just won’t go away for some time. It drags on and on until everyone on both sides gets exhausted. Six months of pure grind. But we’ll win this one as well – no question. The soldiers are prepared and have been reinforced.
Then begs the question: What will be the next battle after this? Or will the war finally be declared over?
Which brings me to my next statement -
“Life in it’s entirety”. Life is full of war’s and subsequent battles. And before you get all resentful about that fact, just remember, it was never meant to be that way originally. I won’t give you a sermon on it but I know God never intended for us to make this bed we now have to sleep in. Sure as the sun rising, every day we must fight for something. Whether its for our relationships, our happiness, our peace, our finances, our children, our careers, our future, our sanity just to name just a few…. and sometimes yes, it feels like we are even fighting for our very lives. Because the truth is, we are.
I’ve come to learn that if you give your life to Christ then you can be assured the War is over – because your life has already been won. It doesn’t mean you won’t fight other battles while you’re living, but you can rest easy knowing the General has already declared victory and now we just have to deal with the skirmishes. As soldiers on the battlefield, we already know the skirmishes aren’t easy…but at least we are assured of ultimate victory.
On the grand war scheme - this cancer thing has not been my biggest battle by far. I’ve faced much bigger goliaths to be honest.
When my mother committed suicide it took me years to walk through that valley and climb up that mountain. Y E A R S. Even today there is a reason why you won’t find many photos of her in my house. Because on the odd occasion I do catch a glimpse of her there is a very real risk that my emotions will stage a little comeback tour. Not with anger and a sense of betrayal like it used to be, but just pure nostalgia. I wish she was here. I need her to be here during all these milestones in my life. She would be awesome to have around right now. My kids would love her dearly. Simple things we often take for granted really.
When the child molestation stuff came to the surface it took YEARS to work through the initial impact and the subsequent fall out. But let’s never forget, even before it came out I was dealing with it. A good 20 years of my life was impacted by that. How’s that for a battlefield?
These are just a couple of examples to prove my point.
I have faced so many battles that damn near broke my heart. I could literally feel the strain of it being pulled and ripped apart at times. It really is physically painful and like nothing you’ve ever felt before. People really can die of a broken heart – its scientifically proven. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if my heart had actually been broken several times in fact, and only by His healing mercies has it been put back together.
No..... this cancer battle is just a skirmish. A small battle in the grand scheme of my life, and an even smaller battle over the war on life. Small but no less significant. It may take up 8-12 months of my life in total depending on what the General says – and it may be a combination of vicious and long-winded battles, but like I said earlier, the war over my life has already been won, which is why I am able to write these words and encourage you to find this truth for yourself.
Far be it from me to tell you how to conduct your own battles, but are you sick of going to war not knowing what the outcome is going to be? Who is your General that declares when the war is over? Are the battles exhausting you to the point of giving up? And if the course of your life does run out, do you know where you are going? Some hard questions to be sure. And often its not until your faced with the reality of life and death that you begin to ask them. My advice to you…don’t wait. There is indelible peace to be had - now and for the rest of your life if you choose to join the winning side. “As we practice life in Christ we do not experience every low as a trough, just more as a blip. Lows are much more shallow and temporary when experienced through God’s loving nature. Weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning and kicks it out of the house [Psalm 30:5]!" - Grahame Cooke
So why don't you join me in victory? I'm just a message away if you need to talk xx