“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
“One hot July afternoon in 1967, I dove into a shallow lake and my life changed forever. I suffered a spinal cord fracture that left me paralyzed from the neck down, without use of my hands and legs. Lying in my hospital bed, I tried desperately to make sense of the horrible turn of events. I begged friends to assist me in suicide. Slit my wrists, dump pills down my throat, anything to end my misery!”
While angry with God and questioning His power, Joni Eareckson Tada’s friend, Steve, pointed Joni to Christ.
Joni believes God’s purpose in her accident was to “turn a stubborn kid into a woman who would reflect patience, endurance and a lively, optimistic hope of the heavenly glories above.”
If anyone knows what it’s like to suffer, Joni does. And yet, throughout the fifty plus years she’s lived as a paraplegic, Joni has given God full permission to use her life to help others and to honor Him. Joni is an artist (painting with her teeth), she’s authored over 50 books, and is the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, an international advocate for people with disabilities. To learn more about this lovely woman and her ministry, please check out Joni’s website: http://www.joniandfriends.org/
Most of us won’t experience the same type of suffering as Joni, but everyone will eventually face some form of suffering. It could come through a broken relationship, a wayward child, indebtedness, a serious illness, and the list continues. When suffering comes, we too, have a choice to make… to hold God’s hand and allow Him to fill us with His unfailing love, grace, peace, and power to fulfill His purpose in our lives, or remain helpless and hopeless.
Holding His Hand
“My wheelchair used to symbolize alienation and confinement. But God has changed its meaning because I have trusted in Him. Now my wheelchair symbolizes independence. It is a choice I made and one that anyone can make.” – Joni Eareckson Tada
Recommended Reading: Romans 8:18-39
The words of this song capture the thrilling perspective Joni has come to know in the years since her accident:
I rejoice with him whose pain my Saviour heals. And I weep with him who still his anguish feels. But earthly joys and earthly tears are confined to earthly years, And greater good, the Word of God reveals. In this life we have a cross that we must bear; It’s just a tiny part of Jesus’ death that we can share. And one day we’ll lay it down, ’cause He’s promised us a crown To which our suffering can never be compared.
That’s why Heaven is nearer to me, and at times it is all I can see. Sweet music I hear, coming down to my ear, And I know that it’s playing for me. For I am Christ the Saviour’s own bride, And redeemed I shall stand by His side. He will say, “Shall we dance?” and our endless romance Will be worth all the tears I have cried.
Heaven Your Real Home is one of my favorite books about living for eternity.
Another book authored by Joni, Making Sense of Suffering.
Joni’s Corner: Weekly (Each Monday) encouraging thoughts shared by Joni, and her Diamonds In The Dust video series. See link below.
Holding His Hand story of Joni, and photos are used by permission. Joni and Friends International Disability Center www.joniandfriends.org