When Joni Eareckson Tada learned she was positive for COVID-19, she could have turned to despair and fear. Instead, she leaned into the promises of God.
As a quadriplegic who battled cancer (twice) – that also left her with a weakened immune system – a COVID-19 diagnosis is practically a death sentence.
But just as she always does, Joni is using her own personal suffering as a way to lead others to Christ. And she’s doing it in the most incredible way.
No stranger to suffering, Joni has devoted her Christian life to helping others walk through suffering and pain by pointing them to the eternal promises of Christ.
Her disability ministry “Joni and Friends” presents the hope of the Gospel to those impacted by disabilities all around the globe.
And when the COVID-19 pandemic began, a frightened world experienced an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety.
But Joni reminded them of God’s sovereignty.
Christianity Today reported:
“Jesus knows exactly where the virus is and where it is going next, who will get it and who will not. Since our Savior always does what is wise and good, he has prudent purposes in this disease and its impact,” she said, going on to describe her own vulnerabilities should she become infected.
“Personally I am staking my life on that because I am a person at great risk. I am an aging quadriplegic with fragile lungs and an immune system that can be easily compromised,” she said. “But I am following all the protocols and I am bolstering my confidence with the same assurance that we giving the people we serve through Joni and Friends: The world belongs to Almighty God.”
And now, even though her fight with COVID-19 has been tough, Joni refuses to curse God and still praises His name.
‘Joni and Friends’ posted an update to Facebook where Joni said:
“Psalm 84:11 assures me that ‘No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly,’ and I am being showered with good courage, good endurance, a heart that sings good songs, and confidence in my good and great Savior.”
When Joni became paralyzed in the late 60s, she spoke of how her suffering taught her to not place her hope in this world, but to continually keep an eternal perspective and look upward.
Instead of giving up on “living life,” Joni has used her tragedy to minister to others especially in the disability community.
Very few people know how to suffer well, but Joni has learned to use her suffering here on earth to make an eternal difference.
A few years back, she reiterated how her suffering has strengthened her faith.
Christianity Today continued:
“Nothing more radically altered the way I looked at my suffering than leapfrogging to this end-of-time vantage point. When God sent a broken neck my way, he blew out the lamps in my life that lit up the “here and now” and made it so captivating.
The dark despair of total and permanent paralysis that followed wasn’t much fun, but it sure made heaven come alive. And one day, when our Bridegroom comes back—probably when I’m right in the middle of lying down on my office sofa for the umpteenth time—God is going to throw open heaven’s shutters. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’ll be fantastically more excited and ready for it than if I were on my feet.
In the meantime, suffering hurries my heart homeward.”
As Joni battles COVID-19, let us pray not only for her total and complete healing, but for her faith to remain strong during this scary time.
And while COVID-19 has caused panic and chaos, it’s also led others to accept Christ in record numbers!
May God grant Joni the strength to overcome COVID-19 and use her story to show those suffering in the disability community the real hope of Christ – the only thing in this world we can depend on.
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