From the Heart

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • June 1, 2017

Face of Anguish DrawingPeople don’t often put the words ‘joy’ and ‘disability’ together – most think suffering and joy are an impossible combination. Living as a quadriplegic for 50 years, I can identify. I remember a time when I thought joy was impossible – like this charcoal-sketch of me when I was first injured, asking, “Oh God, is this now my life?!”

Recently, I wrote to Tommy, a teenager who broke his neck body surfing. Halfway through my letter as I was describing several hurdles he should expect to face, I stopped. I was overwhelmed with what lies ahead for this young man, and I started crying out to God on Tommy’s behalf. I’m sure he feels like that charcoal portrait.

And when it comes to the families we serve at Joni and Friends, it’s every person’s portrait. It’s why we’re earnestly heaven-bent on reaching Tommy and thousands like him with the hope and help of Christ. We want them to see Jesus in their anguish. Like Andrew Murray says: “The Christian often tries to forget his weakness: God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to be freed from weakness: God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness: Christ teaches us to say, ‘Most gladly will I glory in my weaknesses.’”

That’s where the joy comes in. It happens when we see the Man of Sorrows as our Lord of Joy. Only the life-transforming power of Christ can open the hearts of Tommy and countless others to the wonders of His joy. So thank you for helping us give God’s joy to those who suffer – it’s what’s happening to Tommy as he trusts the God of impossibilities!


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I am currently Counseling my 3rd client/friend with MND. I had polio as a child, now PPS. Walking on this [suffocating] road with precious friends is 'easier' when we allow ourselves to rest in our weakness so that His power strengthens us
  • June 17, 2017
  • 10:04 a.m.
  • Dorothy-Anne Howitson
I believe that when we see Jesus (he was known for his scars) that people with disabilities will be able to relate and feel Jesus' compassion as we look at his scars and everything he went through on the cross for all of us.
  • June 6, 2017
  • 11:22 a.m.
  • Susan Curtis
Joy in suffering is such an amazing treasure. This path is definitely hard and heart breaking, but the intimacy with Christ is unmatched. I wouldn't trade a moment of my suffering because the gain I've had far outweighs the pain.
  • June 5, 2017
  • 1:35 p.m.
  • Allison Meister
It is most difficult to see any joy in the middle of suffering. In the middle of my polio affliction as a child, after accidents and being paralyzed from the waist down (recovered from), and most recently from major spinal surgery(crooked spine, severe stenosis, buldging disc, and many rods and screws on spine). I am now right on the other side of 70 and feeling "very blessed" and grateful to my Jesus who saw me through so much and I only hope I can be a small blessing to others that are open to knowing what I wonderful friend and merciful Savior we have! I still have bad nerve pain, but it definitely could be so much worse. God bless you Joni and your ministry of many years! I will pray for Tommy that he comes to know the Lord in a very personal way and clings to Him throughout his journey.
  • June 5, 2017
  • 10:46 a.m.
  • Karalyn
Thank you for being a faithful servant and for speaking truth. Sometimes pain and suffering, in whatever form, consumes us and debilitates us. I will be more diligent in praying and asking God for the incredible joy that only can come from the power of the Holy Spirit and Christ Himself.
  • June 5, 2017
  • 10:27 a.m.
  • Julie
Dearest Joni, thank you for reminding me that life is so much harder for people bound by paralysis. I want to bring comfort to hurting souls and ease their pain in any way I can. Thank you for your tender care of Tommy and others who are just beginning this new reality of their lives. God open each heart to Him as He did for you.
  • June 1, 2017
  • 6:43 p.m.
  • Jennifer Cooper
Thank you for explaining joy and suffering to me. I need to reread Phillipians. Your gentle message fills my heart.
  • June 1, 2017
  • 6:39 p.m.
  • Judith Jordan