I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering (Isaiah 61:8).
You have no doubt heard about this brave young woman who, many years ago, entered into a lifetime of severe suffering.
In 1967, a diving accident left Joni Eareckson Tada, a beloved personal friend, a quadriplegic. Joni dove into a lake, and did not come back up. She broke her neck in that dive, and had to be pulled from the water. Since then Joni has had no feeling or movement in her arms or legs.
The suffering that she faced, and continues to experience, is undoubtedly more than most of us will ever be able to conceive.
In her sorrow, Joni asked a question that I am sure all of us have pondered when going through great difficulty or tragedy. "What possible good can come out of what I am now going through?"
But Romans chapter 8, verse 28, contains that wonderful promise for God's people: "We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Joni says, "The suffering and pain of the past few years have helped me mature emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Pain and suffering have purpose. I believe God was working in my life to create grace and wisdom out of the chaos of pain and depression."
Indeed, God has greatly used Joni, and has turned mourning into joy. She has been a great witness for our Lord and encouragement to others. Due to her best-selling books, beginning with her autobiography, "Joni," as well as having visited 35 countries, Joni's first name is recognized around the world. World Wide Pictures' full-length feature film, JONI, in which Mrs. Tada recreated her own life, has been translated into 15 languages and shown in scores of countries around the world. In fact, it is very likely that God has graciously used Joni far more as a quadriplegic than if she had never had the accident.
God is not the author of evil, sickness and disabling accidents. We live in a fallen world where these things happen. But God can take them and use them for His glory.
More recently, the same kind of accident happened to a beautiful teenage girl in Florida, Jennifer Harman, and she has since been paralyzed. Jennifer is also living to the glory of God and continues to be a cheerful and powerful witness to others all around her, in spite of her severe handicap.
I thank God for dear saints such as Joni and Jennifer, and their example. Considering what they have done in their disabilities, it makes me to want to all the more be an effective witness for our Lord with the strengths and abilities He has given me.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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