Wedged in His Will

  • Nov. 24, 2014
  • #8496

We can give thanks to God, even in our brokenness and pain, because our lives are in the center of God’s perfect will.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Thanksgiving week.

The older I get, the more reflective I become. Especially around Thanksgiving. There are so many more things I am thankful for now than I was when I was younger. Like, the older I get, the more grateful I am for this wheelchair I’m in. Believe it or not, I’m grateful for this quadriplegia I’ve lived with for 47 years. I know that sounds strange. How can a person be thankful to God for hands that can’t feel anything or hold anything? How could I possibly be grateful for legs that don’t walk or run? Most people — most Christians — are quick to give thanks to God for things that look and feel like blessings. Like good health and food on the table and bills paid and kids all married, and so on. But as I get older, more and more my disability looks and feels as good as those more obvious blessings. Still, it is a strange thing to be thankful for.

It’s like, you know, those hungry people on the hillside watching Jesus give thanks for two fish and a loaf of bread. It was just a meager little lunch, how could Jesus be thankful for such a skimpy meal with so many hungry people looking on? But as he took the bread and broke it — that’s the key, isn’t it — he broke it and blessed it and ended up miraculously feeding thousands. And that’s the way I look at my broken neck. Somehow in the breaking of my life, he blessed it. And now, so many years later, our ministry is miraculously reaching for Christ thousands of others whose lives have been broken by accidents or illnesses. Who would’ve guessed? Who would’ve thought?

I mean, when I was first injured in that diving accident, I felt completely abandoned, completely forsaken by God. Like Jesus when He cried out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" But as my friend Ravi Zacharias once observed, at the height of Jesus' sense of desolation, at that very moment, Jesus was, in actual fact, in the very center of His Father's perfect will. Forty-seven years ago when I was face-down on a hospital Stryker frame, God and His will couldn't have seemed more distant. But now, it is clear that back then when I felt the most forsaken, I was actually right in the center of God’s will. It wasn’t without tears and pain. Brokenness always, always comes with tears and pain. But a broken life in the hands of God, well, get ready to be blessed because (according to Psalm 51), He delights in a broken and contrite spirit. And what he delights in — or, I should say, who he delights in, he blesses. And the life he blesses can’t help but overflow and spill into the lives of others, encouraging them in their brokenness.

And that, my friend, is why I am so very thankful this week. And I hope you look at your brokenness — your pain and problems — in the same way.

This week, please remember that when you feel the pain of deep suffering, deep brokenness, the pain you feel may well be the wedge of God's will. To me, this is the message of Thanksgiving this week for all who are experiencing brokenness, and I encourage you to visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and share this transcript with your Facebook friends. And while you’re on my radio page, download my gratitude journal — it’s a seven-day journal for you to list things for which you are thankful to God. Again that’s at Joniandfriends.org where you can find lots of blessings.

© Joni and Friends

 

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