Keep Telling Your Story

  • Jan. 27, 2012
  • #7760

Joni shares why you should keep telling your personal story of redemption.

Welcome to "Joni and Friends." I'm Joni Eareckson Tada.

And you know I always enjoy hearing comments from people after I speak, after I share my story. But I will never forget the time when a person came up to me afterward and said, “You know, Joni, I am so sorry you did not tell your story; you know, how you struggled after your diving accident and were so depressed? I needed to hear that today, I really did, and I'm disappointed that you talked about something else.” 

At first, I was taken back a bit. I mean, I had spoken on the subject of heaven, and I thought I had shared some pretty upbeat, positive things. But this woman had come to the meeting expecting something else. And you know what? I learned a lesson from her words. Because not long afterward I was sitting in the audience listening to a Christian author speak who I knew had gone through grief and loss, having buried a husband and a child. I was so hoping to hear how she got through it, but it was never mentioned, except when she was introduced, kind of like giving background information. 

She was a great expositor; I mean, really got into God’s Word. I felt as if I were listening to a good message, but she did not speak at all of her personal loss and suffering. I so wanted to understand how God redeemed her through her heartache but, instead, she spoke about an experience she had overseas… something about a lesson she learned from a missionary and his experiences, which was okay, really, but I could not help but feel this sense of disappointment. I learned then and there, that when a person has gone through great affliction and has met God in that difficult place and does not at least weave it into her "message," the listener feels cheated. Maybe that famous author felt like everyone knew her testimony and she had told it often enough, but I had personally never heard her tell it. Frankly, I am always encouraged and my heart sings every time a believer expresses what feels and seems like something so wretched and evil and yet, she still clings to God. I love to hear that story. It’s the story of redemption played out in each of our lives when we tell others how Christ has sustained us through the most horrible and difficult and toughest of times. 

And so, if you have experienced the grace of God in the midst of great hardship, friend, may I ask you to please “keep telling your story?” I know that suffering as a topic can sometimes be a downer but when sorrow hits you in your deepest part, and God sees you through it, well, you just need to know that people need to hear that from you. They need to be reminded that God's grace can be sufficient in their lives, as well. So don't ever stop telling your story because you think everyone has heard it already. Even those who know it need to hear it again. 

Why? Well, people need the inspiring examples of others. I mean, think of it: what happens when sorrow, pain, loss or difficulty strikes you if you have no examples of others to look to?  What if you had no one’s story to inspire you? What if there’s no one to show you how God has loved others in that same painful place? Please remember that in telling your personal story of redemption – you know, how God redeemed the tragedy and turn it into something triumphant in your life – it always encourages others. It points them the way. It guides them and shows the possibilities. Friend, I Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” Hear that? Always be ready to tell your story – the old, old story of Jesus and how He loved you through the toughest of times. 

© Joni and Friends

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