Illness and pain: a battle?

A recent article from a cancer survivor asked that we stop using battle imagery to describe cancer.

I understand that.  Some people who are sick don’t want to be labeled as a warrior or a fighter — the label seems to add pressure to “perform,” which no one wants to do when they are sick. Sometimes you just want to be you, without anyone else’s expectations placed on you.

Yet we do fight battles, multiple battles, when we suffer from a severe or chronic condition.  Over the years of ministry I have witnessed these battles fought in the lives of many dear people.

There may be battles in one’s mind — trying to fend off hopelessness, depression, pessimism.

There may be battles in getting through the treatment.  The whole experience of illness may feel like a long slog through danger. My uncle, a Vietnam veteran, told me about the difficulty of just getting from Point A to Point B when under enemy fire.  When we are sick we may truck along for a while just fine, only to be knocked down by a treatment failure, or  a severe reaction to medication, or an unsettling lab report.

There are battles in meeting expectations. Forcing one’s self to take the multiple medicines or treatments. Going to the doctor’s office, again and again. Sticking with a strict diet or physical therapy program.

For all who suffer — those who feel they are fighting battles, and those who are tired of battle imagery — let us be fiercely in prayer.

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