Saturday, March 3, 2012

Principles For Fighting Melanoma Or Any Enemy (Taken From King David)

This is one of my more popular notes on Melanoma Prayer Center and is offered here to make it more readily available to a wider audience. Please substitute your particular "enemy" where you see "melanoma" if necessary.

I'm a King David fan! I love his bravery, his humanness, his heart for God. Some of the best loved stories of faith revolve around David. David the shepherd boy who squared up against Goliath, the 9 foot tall Philistine who was all decked out in armor while David wore his street clothes and only had a slingshot and rock. David who was a musician and wrote many of our best loved Psalms. David who was the second king of Israel and was hunted by the first. David, who as king, once decided not to go to battle like all good kings were supposed to do, stayed behind at the palace, and that set the stage for the David and Bathsheba saga. David, whose own son, Absalom, wanted to kill him.

David knew enemies. He knew enemies that were wild animals, enemies that were human. Other kings, his son, people in enemy lands. David knew what it was to face the unfaceable and persevere. When David writes about facing his enemies and when other Biblical writers write about David facing enemies, they are for the most part, human. We face an enemy that is every much an enemy as David's were, but ours is melanoma. A disease. But like the worst of enemies, it wants to kill us and usually will not rest until we are dead.

In studying David and how he dealt with his enemies, some principles emerge that I believe will help us as we engage in battle against our foe, melanoma. These are principles, not a step-by-step strategy. They are, therefore, in no particular order:

Don't try and fight alone. You can't do it. You need family and friends to fight with you. You need a support system. You need the best medical advice and treatment that is at your disposal. You need an army. David had allies, you need them too. And, don't take your allies for granted!

Know your enemy. Know how your enemy functions. Study your enemy and know what you're dealing with.

Seek advice on how to face your enemy and win. You're in a battle and you're in it to win it. If you don't want to fight at all, then that's your choice, but your enemy will keep wearing you down until it's too late for you to fight back. Just because you didn't choose the battle doesn't mean you're not in one. Fight and you come out ahead. Don't fight and you don't stand a advice from the best counselors (doctors) you have at your disposal, develop your strategy, and fight the good fight.

Know when it's time to find a cave and hide out from your enemy for a while. Yes, David did that. Sometimes we need to take a break. Rest. Recuperate. Evaluate the game plan and see how it's working. Sometimes we need to go back to the drawing board and devise a new strategy. Battle takes a lot out of a person and out of a family and support system. Take that well deserved and much needed break when you need to. You can't fight when you're physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. Do what you need to do to re-energize!

Likewise, there are times that it's just not wise or the right time to retreat from battle. When the heat of battle is on, then you need to show up! Trouble can come on you fast when your defenses are down and you're not doing what you need to be doing! Remember...that's what got King David in trouble and led to Bathsheba becoming an unwitting part of David's life and it ultimately cost her husband, Uriah, his life. If David had done what he was supposed to do and been where he was supposed to be, that whole episode would never have happened!

Stay vigilant! Enemies are known for being sneaky. Be aware of what your enemy is up to and don't let your guard down! It's easy to get complacent when melanoma hasn't reared it's ugly head for a while, when moles & lumps & bumps are nothing time after time...that's when we relax and let our guard down. And, that's when the next mole, lump, or bump is trouble. Stay on top of your enemy or your enemy will stay on top of you! Simple as that and the choice is yours!

Pray. Stay in touch with God Who created you and knows your enemy better than you do. God also knows you better than you do. He knows what your body can handle and what it can't. Seek His wisdom and guidance with every step you take.

Find something that helps you work through all this and make it part of your routine. David had music and writing psalms. Add reading the Psalms to your repertoire.

Know your enemy's Achilles Heel. All enemies have at least one vulnerable spot. Goliath was 9 feet tall, decked out in armor, had a spear, but he also had an exposed face. All his armor could not protect his face from a single, simple stone slung from a slingshot that made a direct hit between his eyes. That was all it took to knock him off his feet and bring him to the ground where David, a boy, was suddenly standing over him and held his life in his hands...which he took. David killed his enemy. Absolutely, God fought with David, but David gave God a willing participant to fight with. David came to the table with everything he had, put it at God's disposal, and an enemy was definitely defeated.

That was David's basic battle plan throughout his life. He brought everything he had, at any given time, to the table, put it in God's hands, and then trusted God to accomplish what He purposed to accomplish through David. Sometimes David got it wrong and God picked him back up again. Sometimes David got it right and moved on to the next battle.

David didn't win every battle and we won't either, but he never gave up or gave in. David knew something that we need to remember, and he wrote about it in Psalm 23.

David knew that the day was coming when he would battle his last battle, but that God had won the war. David knew that the day was coming when all his enemies would watch him feast at God's table and they wouldn't be able to do a thing about it and they weren't invited. David knew that the day was coming when God's ultimate victory over his enemies would be known and those enemies would be no more.

The same can be said for our common enemy, melanoma.

Psalm 23 is a great prayer:
 The Lord is my shepherd;
      I have all that I need.
  He lets me rest in green meadows;
      he leads me beside peaceful streams.
     He renews my strength.
   He guides me along right paths,
      bringing honor to his name.
  Even when I walk
      through the darkest valley,
   I will not be afraid,
      for you are close beside me.
   Your rod and your staff
      protect and comfort me.
  You prepare a feast for me
      in the presence of my enemies.
   You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
      My cup overflows with blessings.
  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
      all the days of my life,
   and I will live in the house of the Lord
Amen and Amen!

My favorite video of someone fighting melanoma is this one. It was made by his wife and chronicles his fight as a stage 4 warrior. He still is, a year later as I write, "Indestructible." Be blessed and encouraged. The fight is worth it. Life is worth it.