| The Challenge Ahead|
In my last letter, I shared a very personal word with you about how, during a low point while battling cancer, the Lord spoke to me about Raven Rations. So many responded, telling how Raven Rations strengthened and encouraged them in the midst of some very traumatic trials. One mother of three boys said that last year her husband began having stomach pain. Tests revealed he had cancer. One month later, he passed away. She said,
"The past year has been very difficult on me and the boys to say the least. Your letter ministered to me so much on every level. I so needed this encouragement."
"I don't understand a lot of things I've been going through but your Raven Rations letter really helped."
"Last April I underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. Never in our journey with the Lord has our testing been so great and our faith so shaken. As I read your letter, I realized that I, too, am at the Brook Cherith."
"Your message Raven Rations has energized my husband and me, and brought so much encouragement during one of the most difficult times of our lives. Thank you."
"I desperately needed to hear this word today."
The storms of life come to all of us. It's not IF they come, it's WHEN. It's important that we, like the wise man Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7, build our lives upon the right foundation so that we stand strong in that day.
I am speaking to you along these lines because I believe we are on the verge of some of the most exciting and at the same time, some of the most challenging days in Church history. So many have told me they are currently experiencing some of the greatest trials of their lives. I can relate. In the 37 years since I've known the Lord and have been in ministry, I've had my share of trials and even heartache. On the mission field, Jeri miscarried twins and almost died. We were in Argentina when the economy collapsed and overnight were tens of thousands of dollars in debt. We've been publicly smeared by the news media. I could go on and on. But never in all these years have I encountered a trial like what I've been going through these past 4 years with my health.
Yet in the midst of it all He has been my Peace that passes understanding, my strength who enables me to endure hardness, and my rock upon which I can lean upon and depend.
Allow me to share a few simple principles that have helped me remain strong in the Lord even during life's fiercest battles, including this present health storm.
When I find myself overwhelmed by my circumstances, I step back and make a conscious, concerted effort to look UP! I take my eyes off of myself and my situation, and fix them on Jesus. I contemplate His greatness. His wonders. His awesome works. His power. His miracles. His faithfulness. The Psalmist declared,
"I will remember the works of the Lord...and talk of Your deeds...who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders!" (Ps 77:11-14)
I think about the awesome things He's done in my life. How He saved me, delivered me, healed me, provided for me. I rehearse the mighty miracles I've witnessed over the years, and remind myself that He's the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). As I remember His mighty works and start talking about them, faith and strength arises in my heart.
Remember the story of the twelve spies who were sent to spy out the Promised Land? Ten spies came back with what the Bible refers to as an evil report:
"There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." (Num 13:33)
When the Israelites compared themselves to their "giant" problem, they came up grasshopper short. As a result, a whole generation died off in the wilderness. Sadly, the Israelites forgot the most important part of the equation: that the God of the entire universe was with them! My friend, not only is God with us, He's also in us! So when I'm faced with giant, insurmountable mountains, I look within, knowing that "Greater is He who's within me than he who's in the world" (1 John 4:4) and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13)
Besides looking up and in, I also look out. In other words, I look beyond my present situation to see from Heaven's perspective. Through the eye of faith, I see myself healed and preaching the Gospel once again, my financial needs met, my lost loved ones saved, and impossible situations turned around. My friend, as we look beyond ourselves and our circumstances, something else happens. God begins to use us to minister to others. I can't tell you how many times over the past few years that the Lord has orchestrated divine appointments and used me to minister to people who are suffering and walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Have you ever noticed how you are strengthened as you bless and help others? That's the spiritual law of sowing and reaping in action!
A Personal Update
Recent tests have revealed that the severe pain in my leg has been caused by a tumor on my spine. I'm currently undergoing radiation to shrink the tumor, as well as daily holistic treatments to strengthen and build my immune system. The radiation has been very difficult for me. Please pray! Believe with us that the treatments will be successful and that my body remains strong. Above all, please stand in faith with us for my healing. Jesus bore this cancer on His body at Calvary and according to His Word, by His stripes I am healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
Your steadfast prayers and faithful giving are a continual encouragement to me. They are truly as Raven Rations to us during this pivotal time in our lives and ministry. One of the most difficult things while dealing with this cancer is that I can't go out and "do" things like Steve Hill normally would. But here's what I can do. In the midst of this infirmity, I am continuing to reach souls. And, I am learning in a fresh way to enter into the rest of faith and to trust Him to supply our every need. He is faithful!
In my next letter, I look forward to sharing with you how lives are being saved and changed through this ministry. Meanwhile, let's strengthen ourselves today and prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead by taking our minds off of the "same old thing" and instead, look up, look in, and look out! He loves to take us by surprise! He loves to manifest Himself, to work miracles, to restore, to heal, to set free, to bless, and to make all things new! I am believing Him to do that in my life and in our generation, how about you?!
We love you and thank God for you!