Samuel Rutherford

  • July 26, 2017
  • #9193
Samuel Rutherford

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a quotation you’ll never forget.

After I broke my neck, after the worst of my depression was behind me, I began digging deep into the Bible to understand it all. A friend showed me Colossians Chapter 3 where I was told to set my mind, set my heart, on things above and not on the passing things of this life. In other words, I was to set my mind on heaven. I learned that in heaven, I would have a new glorified body. The Bible showed me that there would be no more sorrow, no more sadness. The Bible also showed me that if I could but trust God with my quadriplegia, it would make my heavenly estate all the more happier, all the more glory going to God.

My friend told me that my suffering was the key to making heaven more heavenly. When I asked them to explain that, my friend showed me a quote from Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish pastor from the 1600s. Listen to what Rutherford wrote—these remarkable words—words that should inspire you if you suffer with a chronic condition. Because Rutherford said this:

 “If God had told me some time ago that He was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world, and then had told me that He should begin by crippling me in arm or limb and removing from me all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing His purpose. And yet, how is His wisdom manifest even in this. For if you should see a man shut up in a closed room idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all of his lamps and then throwing open the shutters to let in the light of heaven.”

I love that quote because when God allowed my broken neck to happen, it was His way of blowing out all the lamps that lit up life when I was on my feet. Everything went dark. I could no longer run or walk, I could not reach for things or hold a knife or fork; I couldn’t dress myself, do my own toileting routines; I couldn’t hike or go for a climb, or even a walk around the block. God blew out every lamp in my life that lit up the here and now. But in so doing, God threw open the shutters and the light of heaven came pouring in. Heaven began to look so much more desirable. It looked like something I really, really wanted to invest in; something in which I wanted to lay up more treasures. And it was Samuel Rutherford’s words that helped me see that everything—absolutely everything—I do down here on earth has a direct bearing on my eternal estate. All my actions, all my trust, confidence, every little bit of confidence I have in God has a direct bearing on my capacity for joy and worship and service in heaven.

This weekend, the last weekend of July, marks 50 years since the accident in which I broke my neck. And boy, am I celebrating. I'm celebrating the wisdom of God in allowing a tragedy which blew out all the lamps that lit up my life, and in turn, lit up eternity in my heart. And I would not have it any other way because there really are more important things in this life than walking. Celebrate that with me, would you, by visiting joniandfriends.org/radio today and asking for free copies of my story, Joni’s Story. It’s a foldout that you can use to tell people about your friend who is marking 50 years in her wheelchair. The foldout has my testimony, the Gospel, and a prayer to receive Jesus as Savior. It’s just one way of celebrating the goodness of God in my life and in your life, as well.

© Joni and Friends

 

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