“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NLT
Fragile? Yes. Broken? No. Troubles? Yes, but not crushed. Sometimes perplexed? Yes, but not to the point of despair? We get knocked down, but we get back up and realize we’re not destroyed. Through our suffering we realize our bodies (of clay) continue to share in the death of Jesus, so that the life in Jesus will also be seen in our bodies! Robin and I sat up on our sofa for several hours the other night, holding hands, worshipping the Lord through soft piano music and crying out to Him. We have come to realize, that in ourselves we are oh, so weak! We shared about the days gone by and the hundreds of memories we have of ministry moments, places we’ve been blessed to go, and the matchless grace of Jesus. We did not focus at all on what we don’t have, but only on the wonderful blessings God has brought into our lives through so many wonderful people. We’ve seen countless people come to know Christ, and have spoken to and counseled many. We’ve been honored and privileged to serve Him in full-time pastoral ministry, and as I reflected on this alone, I had to go back to my boyhood days when I would sit and watch a Billy Graham Crusade and sense the Spirit of God tugging on my heart back then. I didn’t make the connection then, but I knew there was something far different going on in my heart that I could not explain. Oh, yes these jars of clay have been blessed and through much along the way in just a few short years, and now we’ve come to this place suffering. Even in this suffering we know Jesus is alive in our sufferings! He will ultimately bring us to the place of completeness when we cross from this life to heaven. But while we’re here we carry these wonderful treasures around in us! What a joy this is! It truly is a key in finding joy in whatsoever state we find ourselves in here. Pure joy. Joy in Him.
Robin’s fever has subsided to normal levels once again through the miracle of prayer and antibiotics. She still continues to battle pain on a daily basis, while weakness, shortness of breath and other symptoms take a toll on her.
For me, it’ much of the same symptoms. Pain as I eat (everything) fatigue and more bleeding in the past couple of days. The tumors in my digestive tract have apparently become agitated and the blood vessels are finicky. These types of vessels are erratic and can be close to the surface, thereby causing bleeding in an instant. If they continue, I may be looking at another transfusion in not too distant future.
We are blessed to have my brother Mark, sister Laurette and our nephew Josh with us for a few days. It’s always a great time with lots of fun when they come around, and we’re grateful they’re here.
In just a few days (June 24), Robin will be blessed with another birthday, and we are so happy to celebrate this day, as it’s been a struggle to get to this one! He truly has our days numbered !
Drumroll please… Our much anticipated book, “Through the Valley” is finally available and being printed in soft cover, hardcover and will be available in e-book format in several weeks. This is so exciting for us. Not because it’s our book of our journey, but because we get to tell of His goodness throughout our journey and draw others to Him! It’s been so long, and now you get to read the story. If you would like to pre-order your copy, you may do so by going to the book widget on our blog, pay for your book through our secure payment system, and we’ll ship it to you the first week of July! Those of you who were promised a book when you helped us with the Kickstarter program will be getting your copy then as well. If you know of someone struggling with sickness, disease or any other “valley” experience life can bring, you might consider blessing them with a copy as well. We have prayed that this book would encourage and lead people to Christ who may be going through difficult times.
Robin and I want to thank you for your continued support and love to us, and we continue to be all God wants us to be while in the body. Please don’t stop praying as we face uncertain days!
In His Love,
Rich and Robin