My Accident Anniversary

  • July 29, 2016
  • #8935

Joni remembers the prayers of friends, and short, significant Bible verses that got her through the early days of quadriplegia.

My Accident Anniversary

Tomorrow is quite the anniversary for me!

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and tomorrow, July 30, is, indeed, a significant anniversary because it’s going to mark 49 years since that hot Saturday July afternoon when I broke my neck diving into the Chesapeake Bay. Forty-nine years! I can’t believe I’ve survived this long – and survived so well. And how I thank the Lord for the way he has shepherded me through those many months I was in the hospital. Actually, I was in the hospital almost 2 years.

A broken neck: lifelong quadriplegia, never being able to use my hands or run or walk, it was utterly overwhelming for a 17-year-old like me. But God gave me a wonderfully supportive family, and Christian friends who prayed. Oh, sure, they visited me in the hospital, they brought in pizza and magazines and record albums, yes, they did practical stuff, but mainly, what helped the most were their prayers. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back, those friends were doing spiritual battle on my behalf and they won! Those friends also opened their Bibles and even though I was full of questions, these Christian friends did not answer with big, long, complex theological details. Looking back it would have been too much. A hospital is no place to get into a long, detailed theological discussion of why God allowed this to happen to you. No, a hospital is too disorienting; your mind just can’t operate at full capacity.

But a hospital is a place to hold onto short, succinct, truths from the word of God. And that’s what my friends gave me. The Lord is my shepherd – Period! Christ gave himself for me – Period! Nothing is too hard for the Lord – Period! I will never leave you – Period! Everything works for good – Period! These were the small but short significant truths that I held onto them back then, and they became anchors. They were such great anchors! And I am convinced, looking back these 49 years, that’s how God got me through. I didn’t back then understand all the complexities of God’s sovereignty and, yes, I still had a lot of questions. But thankfully I had caring friends who said, “Joni, we don’t know all the ins-and-outs of how or to what extent God is in control of things, we just know he is. When it comes to understanding at all, don’t worry, we’ll get there; he’ll make it plain. But for now just know he’s got the reins of your life; know that nothing is too hard for the Lord and he will never leave you.”

And that’s what I’m celebrating this week; it’s what I’m celebrating tomorrow on the anniversary of the accident that so terribly altered my life. It was those small, little steps, short snippets of Scripture, moving forward, step-by-step. And now, here I am, looking back on it all with deep gratitude to God, as well as to my family and friends. You know, what I shared about those little anchors, those little truths? Dr. John Piper echoes this in his new booklet “10 Lessons from a Hospital Bed.” And I want to celebrate my anniversary with you by giving you this precious little booklet as a gift. I know I was encouraged reading it. So please, visit me today at and ask for your copy of “10 Lessons from a Hospital Bed.” It will be something you can give to a friend in the hospital, or just be uplifted by the lessons yourself. And remember, if you’re hurting today or struggling, hold on to small, solid, little powerful truths. The Lord is your shepherd. Christ gave himself for you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Hold on to those things and you’ll find yourself moving forward.

© Joni and Friends


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