2019-11-05 - What Can We Learn from Joni Eareckson Tada?
Modern Saints Series - Part 4
Joni Eareckson Tada
Most of you who are reading this are probably already familiar with Joni, who has an international ministry that serves the disabled. Her organization furnishes wheelchairs to poor people in countries that are under-served medically, provides retreats for family caregivers, shares inspirational blogs and more. Of course, this description might fit other Christian ministry leaders, as well. What makes Joni unique is that she, herself, has been paralyzed for over 50 years since a diving accident when she was a teen. She also has dealt bravely with cancer.
So what can we learn from this dynamic, faithful, brave lady?
- We can learn that no matter our physical ability, God can use us - every single one of us - whether to pray from our homes, volunteer from a wheelchair, write encouraging notes, give from our income, lead a ministry or study group - or whatever! Remember, at the time that the Apostle Paul was blind, he both wrote and preached. The Bible even tells us that he wrote in a big hand, just as my mother did as she was losing her vision. But he still served the Lord, and to this day, his writing blesses many people!
No matter what has happened to us, even if we have a devastating illness or injury or change in income or family structure, that doesn't mean that God is finished with us, or that our lives are over! In fact, the truth is quite the opposite!
Paul talks about that in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Revised Geneva Translation) 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. For My power is made perfect through weakness.” Therefore, rather, I will very gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
God can use the very worst circumstances to glorify Himself, bless others and even us.
- We also can learn that no matter what a "good life" we are living, it doesn't make us immune to severe difficulties. You would think that a paraplegic for 50 years would be enough for anyone, but Joni also has had to deal with high-stage cancer. She certainly has served God faithfully for decades.
Some people reading this can identify, having being hit by several tragedies. It doesn't always - and not even usually, -mean that we are being punished, when something catastrophic does happen. In fact, when pastors or teachers say that, they are teaching bad theology. Christ Himself told us to EXPECT difficulties.
As recorded in John 16:33 (Revised Geneva Translation), “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation. But be of good courage. I have overcome the world.”, He said: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation. But be of good courage. I have overcome the world.”
Janice P. Moser
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All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
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