Daniel's Story

  • Feb. 13, 2013
  • #8033

Everything was going well for this mother and son—that is, until a surgery gone wrong left Daniel brain injured. Listen to the story of how God answered this family’s desperate questions.

Daniel's Story

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an incredible story today of hope.

The story begins with one sad, depressed mother — Sue had reason to be. Although her 11-year-old son, Daniel, had been born with a heart defect, his three open-heart surgeries had all been successful. But this most recent surgery was different. You see, her little boy was quite the athlete, he loved playing soccer, but he had to go into the hospital for a routine hernia surgery. He’d be in and out in no time; it was just a simple procedure.

What happened, though, was anything but routine, and Sue and her husband were not at all prepared. The attending anesthesiologist made several mistakes and the next thing they knew their active, energetic little boy was given back to them severely brain-injured. Daniel's life was turned upside down and so was Sue’s. He could no longer walk, talk, eat, see clearly, go to the bathroom on his own, or use his hands/fingers.

They had been dealing with Daniel’s serious disabilities for almost a year and Sue was — as I said earlier — worn out and depressed. She had hit a wall and couldn’t go any further. That wall was in the kitchen. One morning when Sue was there pondering the past year and crying out to God to heal her son, a newsletter from Joni and Friends came in the mail. She didn't feel like reading the entire thing, but a Bible verse at the top of the second page caught her attention. Suddenly it was as though God was speaking directly to her. The verse was from Isaiah chapter 43 and it said, "Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Those few short words hit home with Sue and right then and there, in the kitchen, she found the grace to go on. She told me later, “Joni, it’s like I have new vision, new encouragement, a renewed hope for our future. God is going to make a way for us; somehow He will!”

Okay, fast-forward and seven years later, I had the chance to meet Sue and her family when they brought Daniel to Southern California for physical therapy. They visited the office of Joni and Friends and I had a great time with this young man who, by now, was in his late teens. Daniel still couldn’t speak or walk, but his eyesight had improved and he was able to communicate through signs, blinking his eyes, and a few garbled words (his mother had to help interpret for Daniel, but he could communicate). One of the first questions this young man asked me was why I thought God had allowed his accident to happen. To this day, I remember my reply. I was silent for a moment, took a deep breath and then I said, “Daniel I want you to come to a Joni and Friends’ Family Retreat because there I think you will find some answers.” That summer he and Sue attended one of our retreats and had a blast. She told me, “Joni, Daniel was no longer a spectator but a participant, and I was not sad at all, all week!” That was years ago – and now, Daniel who is in his 30’s, has been to, I think, at least 15 retreats. Did he get all his questions answered? Well, some but they aren’t as urgent anymore. Daniel has graduated from Bible College, has written a book, and is joining his mom on many platforms to share the “new thing” that God is doing in his heart. And his testimony is nothing short of amazing.

Maybe you are like Sue when she was in the kitchen that day, feeling so depressed and wondering why God has allowed so much hurt in your life. If I’m describing you today, then please visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org and ask for two little booklets I’ve written on this very subject. Just visit joniandfriends.org and ask for the booklets called “Why.”

© Joni and Friends


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