Christ In The Storm

  • Jan. 7, 2016
  • #8789

Joy, hope and peace come from closeness to Jesus during trials and challenges.

Christ In The Storm

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a special memory.

And maybe this memory includes you – especially if you saw the Joni movie way back when. It was in 1979 when the Billy Graham Association produced a movie about the Joni book, it was a film in which I played my own part. And in 1979 it was shown in theaters around the country, and from then on out, often to churches and youth groups. Well, getting back to me playing my own part, as you can guess, it was a little awkward; I mean, here I was recounting for the camera all the ups and downs I struggled through when I first was paralyzed. And because it was a movie, there was a script. Again, a little awkward!

However, there was one line in that movie that was definitely not scripted. That’s because I had spoken it time and again before there was even an idea for a movie. The line came in the last few scenes of the film. I was talking to a Vietnam veteran who had been severely injured in the war. He was struggling to understand how I (with my own disabilities) could actually trust the God of the Bible. Well, in the movie I looked at him straight in the eye and said, “I would rather be in this wheelchair knowing Jesus, than on my feet without him.” Believe me, never were truer words spoken in a film or, for that matter, in real life.

And now, more than four and a half decades later, I can say the same. But add to my quadriplegia, my battle against cancer and chronic pain. Believe me when I say that life is full of challenges, it is! But still, I can say with confidence, “I would rather be in this wheelchair knowing Jesus, than on my feet without him.” And it is so true.  The joy, hope, and peace that I experience (not in spite of) but because of my closeness to Jesus (which, incidentally, has mainly happened because of the paralysis). My nearness to Jesus is so much more fulfilling and satisfying than having feet that walk and run. At any time, I can stop and ask myself, “Would I want to be on my feet, running and jumping, going skiing and playing tennis, would I want to have hands that work and can feel and hold things, would I want to be independent, take my own baths, cook for myself, and all the rest; but…but forfeit my life in Christ for all these things?” No way. No a chance. The very thought of life without Christ makes my hair stand up on end. So I will take Jesus. I'll have Jesus. I'll choose Jesus over any amount of walking.

And Romans chapter 11, verse 36 describes it best, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.” Friend, all things, even walking or not walking, moving or not moving, holding things with my hands or not holding them, all things find their end in Christ. Like the verse in Romans 11 says, All things are for Him, through Him, and to Him. Because there really are more important things in life than having use of your hands. There are more important things in life than running or walking. And I hope you can say the same, no matter what your limitations; no matter what you may lack in life. I hope you can say that you would rather have your difficulties, than not have them at the expense of knowing Christ. May He be that important to you; that necessary; that urgent in your life. As the saying goes, “I’d rather be in the storm with Christ, than in calm waters alone.” And I hope that today you can say the same.


© Joni and Friends


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