Vicky Oliva's Story

  • Sept. 24, 2018
  • #9496

Christians are called to endure injustice without bitterness and to forgive those who harm us. God is sovereign, He will avenge the wicked.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an amazing story about forgiveness.

When I met Vicky at a rehab clinic so many years ago, I was so moved by the anguish written all over her face. Just a year earlier she was healthy and on her feet, but in a job interview that went awry, Vicky was shot during an attempted rape in a warehouse. She slumped to the ground, paralyzed from the neck down by the bullet that pierced her spine. In a crazy turn of events, the assailant dragged her to his car and dumped her off at an emergency room. When Vicky told a police woman what happened there in the ER, two officers went back to the warehouse and they found blood on the floor and the gun in a trash pail. For the most part, the criminal went scot-free, but Vicky, on the other hand, was dealt a lifetime sentence of quadriplegia. She could have written Psalm 73; really she could have, where it says "For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They seem to have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong." Maybe you could write the same, and those around you may not even be arrogant or wicked.

You could be a young mother who must watch her two-year-old die slowly of cancer while your girlfriends fret about their child's broken arm or grades at school. You could be a hard-working salesman who holds fast to good ethics, while a conniving coworker cheats his way to the top, receiving praise and promotion. Worse yet, you could be carrying the heartbreaking scars from a terribly abusive childhood or former marriage. Life is not fair. It is full of injustice. And the unfairness of it all can be so demoralizing. Husbands cheat on wives; drunk drivers slam into schoolchildren; and rapists walk out of jail; move to other states to start all over again. Where is God amid all this?

Well, when injustices happen to us, we feel it's only right to justify our anger and critical spirit because of the wrongs that have been perpetrated against us. But are we compelled to always respond to injustices this way? A natural response might be like this: "Okay, you think God must hate injustice, so He must have been helpless to prevent my mistreatment. So I need to make up for God's inactions. And if the other person is not exposed, or brought to justice, or punished then I must take matters into my own hands and use criticism to make certain they are, in some way, paid back." That’s the natural response.

But here’s a supernatural response, the response Vicky ultimately had. Vicky told herself, “Yes, God hates injustice and yes, the awful person who shot me deserves to be exposed and brought to justice. But whether or not that happens, I will not be bitter nor retaliate; I will return good for evil and bless rather than curse.” Wow! That is a supernatural response. But if you are a Christian, God has called you to endure unjust suffering without bitterness or revenge or the desire to hurt back. For God is sovereign; He’s in control and He will take vengeance and yes, even wicked people cannot thwart his purpose for as it says in Proverbs 16, “The Lord works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

Oh friend, there is so much more to tell about this story—the way Vicky was able to forgive her attacker and why. And I’ve posted a link to a message I gave earlier this year about her story and her amazing example on forgiving. So please if you would, visit joniradio.org to watch Vicky’s astounding testimony, and while you’re there, pick up my booklet “When God Seems Unjust.” It’s all yours for the asking at joniradio.org. God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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