The Rough Road

  • July 24, 2017
  • #9191

Trials are blessings because through them we experience Jesus’ mercy and grace.

The Rough Road

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I'm celebrating a special anniversary.

That’s right. I must say, it’s an unusual anniversary to celebrate, because this Saturday marks 50 years since I took that dive on a hot July afternoon and broke my neck. I simply cannot believe that five decades have passed since that fateful moment when my life changed forever. And as you would guess, I'm so very grateful for the many blessings this wheelchair has brought my way, including a worldwide ministry to people with disabilities: giving Bibles, wheelchairs, doing retreats for special-needs families here in the states and in developing nations. When I see all this, the pain and struggles of quadriplegia have been more than worth it all.

But I'll tell you what’s really worth it. I'll tell you why I'm really celebrating this week. It’s all about Jesus. There’s just no way I would appreciate the Man of Sorrows and the Lord of Joy did I not experience His grace and goodness all these years in my wheelchair. So on this milestone, this anniversary, I thank God for the bruising of the blessing of this chair. I wouldn’t want to go back. I wouldn’t want to do it all over again, but I'm so grateful I’ve gotten this far trusting Jesus. My quadriplegia has shown me that Jesus, oh my goodness, He is more than worth it all.

You know, I’m a big fan of Spurgeon and he once said, “Thank God if you have been led by a rough road, it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and loving kindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge [about Him] to be gained by no other means.” Oh my goodness, is that so true? Because it’s only the heartbroken who experience God as the healer of broken hearts. It’s only those who grieve who understand the depths of God’s comfort. You have to be in need to see God provide. You have to know you are weak to know that He is strong. You have to die to yourself, and your wants and wishes to experience the kind of life that is out of this world. You have to give up, in order to gain more—more of Him. Most of all, you have to know that you’re a sinner before you see Him as Savior. Philippians Chapter 1 says that it is “a privilege to not only trust Christ, but to suffer for him.” So friend, do not malign your trials. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge about Christ, and you’ve got your trials to thank for that.

This is what I'm celebrating this week as I approach the 50-year mark of life in my wheelchair. My paralysis has been the sheepdog growling and snapping at my heels, driving me down the road to Calvary where, otherwise, I might not have gone were I on my feet. My troubles have enriched me with a wealth of knowledge about Jesus; knowledge that couldn’t have been gained by any other means. And the same is true for you. So do not grumble against your trials. They are your blessings. And to help you encourage others to see their trials as blessings, you’ve got to go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org/radio and ask for your free Joni’s Story Gospel tract. It’s a great way to tell others about your friend Joni, and that’s right, I am your friend, celebrating five decades in a wheelchair. They’ll look at you and say, “Celebrating what?” Then you can give them this Gospel tract that tells my story and explains the salvation message. So please help me celebrate this rough road that leads us closer to Jesus. Just go to joniandfriends.org/radio today to receive Joni’s Story, a story that will point the way down any rough road to victory.

© Joni and Friends

 

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