Monday, February 19, 2018

Form Despair to Joy

My power is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12: 9

Each year World Magazine chooses a Daniel of the year.
This year its cover is a full page picture of Joni Eareckson
Tada. She is sitting in a wheel chair, her arms and hands in
braces, but I am drawn to her radiant face. Fifty years ago,
at the age of 17, Joni dove into shallow water and broke her
neck. Suddenly this active teenager was in a small room at
the hospital on a striker frame which allowed the nurses to
turn her side to side. When she realized that God was not
going to heal her she fell into deep despair, even asking her
friend to take her life. She couldn't walk, eat by herself, get
dressed or blow her nose without help Finally Joni prayed,
"God if You won't heal me or let me die, then show me how
to live."

Fifty years later she says this about her unanswered prayers,
"It sounds incredible, but I would rather be in this wheel
chair knowing Jesus as I do, then be on my feet without
Him. That glorious but awful, beautiful but sad, terrible by
wonderful, day I broke my neck--because look what God
has done."

Joni came to embrace God's sovereignty in her suffering
and she founded a ministry, Joni and Friends, that has helped
hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities here in the
US and around the world. She has written dozens of books
promoting life instead of death.

In 2010 Joni was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and
endured surgery and chemotherapy which weakened her all
ready frail bones. A new door opened to constant pain. Many
days Joni tells God. "I don't have the strength for this, but
You do. I can't do quadriplegic today. I cannot do it without
You." She has learned to boast in her weakness.

God has not passed her by. She says, "Thank you Jesus for
Your "no" to physical healing. It's meant that I am depending
more on your grace, its increasing my compassion for others
who are hurt and disabled...It has strengthened my hope of
heaven, and it's made me love you so much more...And I
would not trade it for any amount of walking."

Reader, Joni is a vibrant example of "victory in Christ." She
has surrendered to that which cannot be changed and lives
a full impactful life--even at age 67. Glory to God!

The article on Joni appeared in the November 25, 2017 issue
of World Magazine

No comments: