One of the deep life lessons God is teaching me at a new level is that survival isn't free. And it isn't an end goal. Even those of us with strong faith so frequently lose sight of the end goal when living out our daily lives! I watched this as a nurse in the hospital, observing families in the pressure cooker of facing life and death with their children, walking up to the alter as Abraham did with Isaac. Many, many families walked the path to the alter praying incessantly and bitterly for healing, refusing to accept nothing less than completely restored health and happiness as proof of a loving God. Many, many families refused to embark on the path at all, holding desperately to life as they knew it in this mortal realm, refusing to believe the new facts they were presented with and persisting completely in denial. And a few remarkable families walked willingly to the alter, heads bowed, praying - as others did - for healing, but in submission, in full understanding that heaven is the goal of all life and death here on earth. Life itself is not worth fighting for. Heaven is worth fighting for.
So what, exactly, are we "surviving" for? An easier future? A healthy future? A future of happiness, surrounded by things and people you love? A future of material wealth? A future of renown or professional applaud? A future of contribution to the human race? A future of solitude, peace, spa moments, vacations, or enjoyment of nature? A future of substantial charitable contributions? Political success? Financial freedom? Debt-free living?
I want to fix my eyes on the goals of Scripture. I want to survive to pour myself out like a drink offering. I want to survive to fight. I want to survive to firmly hold my faith. I want to survive to yearn for and welcome His coming. I want to survive to endure more strict training. I want to survive to buffet and subdue my body and my mind. (I Corinthians 9 & II Timothy 4)
Well I've got God on my side
And I'm just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear's a dangerous thing
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It'll take your God filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust
~ Devils & Dust, Bruce Springsteen
Survival doesn't always even mean survival. If I fight only to survive, how will I feel in 10 years when I am diagnosed with a secondary cancer due to my radiation treatment? Like I've been cheated? I want to feel nothing but thankfulness and relief over the way I've run my race. Please pray for this little girl, who survived her first round and is now battling her way through a second.