2 Corinthians 1:11 NLT - And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
Oh, Dear Friends,
On this day I write to you with such rich gratitude that fills my heart because of you. No doubt, so many of you have encouraged our hearts daily with your prayers that have ascended to Heaven as such a sweet aroma, pleasing to our Heavenly Dad. He has heard YOU and answered your prayers! Proverbs 15:8, 29 NIV - The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. ... The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous. As I have mentioned before, I truly believe that there is no greater honor or gift that you may bestow upon us than your prayers. For in them, you seek the most powerful being in this universe, the only One whom nothing is too difficult for; the Great Physician, whom no infirmity is too great to heal. Prayer may not always bring comfortable circumstances but it brings The Comforter; it may not always bring peace but it brings the Prince of Peace; it may not always bring ceasing to the struggle but it brings the One who fights on our behalf. Prayer climbs Jacob's ladder, lays hold of the Balm in Gilead, travels the Highway of Holiness, and rains down the blessings of heaven. Is there anything too difficult for our God? The only prayer guaranteed to be unanswered is the prayer left unasked. Oh, how I thank you for your prayers! Philippians 1:19 NLT - For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
This last weekend (March 10), Randi and I celebrated Five years of marriage. I still recall the moment when I saw her walking down the aisle, holding the arm of her father, coming to be my bride. My heart was brimming over with love for her as evidenced by the tears that fell from my eyes and the smile that so effortlessly graced my face. I had never felt so much love for her prior to that moment; I have never felt so much love for her more than today. Everyday has been a new day of exponential growth with her in love. Oh, how I love her. She is my best friend and I can't imagine going through something as difficult as this with anyone else. It was the famous basketball coach John Wooden who said that pressure can do one of two things: it can burst pipes or make diamonds. Well, I have been down deep in the dirt of this trial with my bride, and let me tell you: I have a true gem. Proverbs 31:10 NASB - An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. Perhaps, the pressure that you are facing today is meant to make something beautiful out of you, something pure, something that can't be created by any other thing. With increased pressure comes increased heat. The refining process may not be fun but it's worth it. Thank God for it, you will learn what you are made of.
One of the things that Randi and I like to do when we celebrate an anniversary is to get away and go on a hike. We love that our anniversary is in the spring because it is a reminder to us of new life. Below is a picture of the path that we walked.
It's amazing thing to think that just a few weeks earlier this path was covered with nothing but dead leaves and all that comes with winter. What a picture of the path that Randi and I have been walking. I get to see something so beautiful growing from these ugly circumstances; and there is nothing more beautiful to me. Song of Songs 4:7 NIV - All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
Proverbs 17:22 NIV - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. I love that no matter what we go through, we can still laugh! My best friend always has the best medicine!
Below is a tree that we had found on the hike. I don't think I have ever seen anything like it.
It would appear that this tree had been broken at some time in the past. Today it is growing straight and is stronger than it has ever been. This is how I view my bride. Even though what we face is heavy and is breaking us, I know that in the end we will be much stronger; she will be much stronger for it. There is a story of a man in the Scriptures named Samson who was perhaps the strongest man to ever live. He lost his strength in conjunction with losing his hair. I have seen quite the opposite: when Randi lost her hair, I have never seen such strength. Psalm 1:1-3 NASB - How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
God graced us with energy for the weekend getaway and He has graced us with a great week since. Randi has actually been sleeping through the night for the past few days! I would be a fool to say that this has had nothing to do with the prayers to the Almighty that you have given on our behalf. We are so grateful for you. I know that often when you pray for someone else it is a difficult thing to hear back and see if anything has come of those prayers, but my friend your prayers have wrought the answers that we have needed.
My precious bride faces round four of chemotherapy tomorrow (Tuesday, March 20th). Romans 15:30 NLT - Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. Please pray that all would go well, that Randi would continue to have strength, and that throughout all of this, we would make the Almighty all famous. Ephesians 6:19 NLT - And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.
We are so grateful for you,