Recently two missionaries that I know have died as a result of cancer. Some respond to this as they ‘lost their battle with cancer’. In some ways that is true but I’d like to reflect on it in another way.
After just completing a weekend of bike riding to raise funds and awareness for cancer, I had time to think of those I was riding for…and these two were two of the champions listed on my helmet.
Riding over many hills and thru valleys along the route, I often thought of their lives. I do not believe they lost their battle. I believe they actually won. I also know that both of them left a legacy of a testimony of a life well lived serving a Saviour they loved deeply. And that love poured out to all those around them. I consider myself blessed to have had my life touched by them both – and their example propels me forward in my journey.
Both lived a life where they fought but with an attitude of surrender. This is an amazing way to live. How do we never give up the fight and yet surrender to God at the same time?
A new song called “Even If’ has been on the radio by Casting Crowns and based off the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three men refused to worship the god of Nebuchadnezzer and so were thrown into a blazing furnace. I believe this is the concept of fighting with surrender “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16)
The song chorus of the song (“Even If”) says:
I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand but even if You don’t my hope is You alone. I know the sorrow and I know the hurt would all go away if You’d just say the word but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.
I am now in Papua New Guinea and all around I see many examples of people ‘fighting with surrender’.
Recently the Mborena Kam had a dedication of the completed New Testament in their language. There were many people involved in this 30+ year process and a lot of behind the scenes action to put together the day of dedication. All of these times of struggle to move forward and yet trusting and surrendering it all to God. It is still amazing to me that this time last year I joined the checking process to get it closer to being published. And here I am a year later back in PNG and the New Testament, in both print and audio formats, is now in the hands of this language group.
The Aruamu are working to complete the Old Testament. The Waran are getting the New Testament ready for the final processes of typesetting and printing. The Mum are finishing up the book of Matthew to be ready for typesetting/printing. And there are others at various stages of continuing the fight to get God’s Word into the hands of the people – not just here in PNG. But to see the faith that continues to stand – well that to me is the surrender part.
Fight with surrender. Paul tells us “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He goes on to remind us to continue to press on…to fight… “…forgetting what is behind…straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14)
So to Matt Dodds and Cindy Davis, I want to say thank you for the example of your lives – lives lived to the fullest for Christ and now you are in the presence of the Almighty One. I do not believe either of you lost your battle to cancer but in fact that you fought hard – fought to ensure that all around you knew that you were leaving to be in the presence of the Saviour whom you served with surrender. May it be a comfort to those you have left behind and an inspiration to all of us to continue press on…but with an attitude of complete surrender.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to the completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:3
Jill is the wife of Norm (DLA) and is an assistant to the administration.