When Joni Eareckson Tada was 17, she had a diving accident and became paralyzed from the neck down. She struggled for days with depression and anger, but Joni soon made a decision that she wanted to live as full a life as possible, despite her wheelchair. Joni struggles at times with understanding the goodness of God – she describes her own takeaways from searching the Bible for answers.
“What does the Bible mean when it uses the word ‘good’? God intends all things for the good of our souls. God has taken away the only kind of suffering that can ever really damage us and that’s separation from Him. Suffering is designed to make our souls great and courageous. My greatest disappointment turned out to be an open door to great delight – it began by my asking God, what kind of healing are you talking about?”
Today she speaks all over the world and is a disability advocate. Her ministry, Joni and Friends, brings wheelchairs and services to people in dozens of countries who lack access to medical care.
Joni lists a number of things we can do to find Jesus in our struggle:
• Sing worship songs.
• Surround yourself with believers.
• Ask God how you can serve the people around you.
• Look for “splash-overs of heaven” in the midst of the tough times.
We as a nation are certainly facing tough times – but Dr. Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of The Moody Church, urges us to remember the truth of the reign of Christ.
“Here’s the bottom line…the Bible is very clear that we should live in light of Christ’s return. He is going to come back, He is going to judge us, He is going to reward us.”
What are the signs of His coming?
• Wars and rumors of wars.
• Mass apostasy (abandonment of faith).
• Earthquakes and famines, the beginning of the birth pains.
• Increased persecution.
Dr. Lutzer comments on the last point.
“When you stop to think of it, there’s going to be a day coming when anti-Christ rules, when there are chilling things that happen… Those who have studied martyrdom tell us that the martyrs who endured the best are the ones who knew the most Scriptures, they had hymns they could sing to themselves, they had been fortified by stories of others. Another thing is the knowledge that others are praying for them, and that they are not forgotten.”
Dr. Lutzer tells us what unbelievers are facing.
“Every religion will be represented. Every economic strata will be standing before the throne. The one thing that all these diverse people share is the fact that they lack the kind of righteousness by which they can approach God – the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And there they stand… once we understand God’s wrath and judgment against sin, we’ll understand the gospel. They don’t just need grace, they need a resurrection, spiritually speaking.”