Fight’s On! is a powerful lesson I've learned as a Sheriff’s Chaplain. Not mere belligerence, or false bravado; Fight’s On! embodies the warrior's creed. Life is hard and sometimes harsh. You’ll never see victory if you fold and run at the first sign of trouble. You have to be willing to stand up, to fight back, to overcome against insurmountable odds.
In Defensive Tactics instructors say that the first hard hit is not the end of the fight, but the beginning. When you get slammed hard that is the ring-side bell; Fight's ON! That is when you gird up your loins, tuck in your chin, and wade in swinging. Many enemies—even the cheerful brawlers—do not expect that. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 is a case in point. The High Command's strategy was to hit America so hard that we could not recover. They expected us to capitulate rather than fight back against that blow. They were mightily surprised when the USA immediately declared war and soon after struck the heart of Tokyo itself. Fight's ON!
Fighting is a taboo in our modern, urban, sophisticated world. Only bullies fight, and that's a bad thing. So we frown on teaching our children to defend themselves. Many reach adulthood without ever getting into a real fist-fight. Passivity is hailed as a sign of modern sophistication, but it’s a cruel illusion. Money, easy escape from the "bad" parts of town, alarm systems and stout door locks allow people to forget that peace is voluntary. When the bully decides to cut you out of the herd it’s too late to decide whether or not you should fight back.
My dad instilled this ethos in me when I was a boy. "Don't start fights, son. Walk away when you can. But if you have no choice, you better be ready to finish them." That teaching kept the chip off my shoulder and allowed me to stand my ground when bullies thought my lunch money would be easy pickings. Sure, I took some lickings as a kid, but I never had to fight any of those bullies a second time.
Now in my fifties, I must call upon this same warrior creed—this ethos—In the face of an ultimate threat: death itself, from cancer. Not a natural death, everybody must face that one day. I’m prepared for that. But cancer—Un-natural death—is a mortal insult; a bully trying to take my life for no good reason.
That is unacceptable. `
The revelation that I have death growing in my chest came as an unwelcome surprise. But I've spent my life preparing for this. As a boy I faced down playground bullies. As a Pastor I've prayed and wept with people facing this same ultimate fear.
This is not a fight I can wade into and defeat with my fists. This fight will be fought by medical professionals. All I can do is harden my resolve, wait on their expertise and trust in my God. I will not surrender to fear. I am willing to take some hard hits, but I will not simply lie down and give up. As far as I’m concerned, Faith is the embodiment of the phrase, Fight's ON!
“…we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10