“He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me.”
-Joni Eareckson Tada
About the book…
Joni Eareckson Tada. An ordinary teenage girl, who had one accident, that changed the course of her entire life. What would you do if one day, you woke up unable to use any of your limbs? Would you curse God? Would you thank Him? Would you question Him? Would you ignore Him? Joni tells the story, not of her life, but of Jesus’ faithfulness in her life. From the days of her accident, through how they changed her young adult years, to finally coming to terms with God’s goodness and faithfulness in suffering, Joni walks you through a story that is sure to convict, encourage, and point you to Christ. Just like every good story should.
About the author…
Joni Eareckson Tada is a devoted follower of Christ, an author, and artist and the founder of Joni and Friends. Since her diving accident when she was a teenager, she had been a quadriplegic, and has used the lessons she has learned through her journey to encourage others, and most of all point to Christ’s sufficiency and faithfulness.
Some personal thoughts…
I would rank this book among the top ten that have changed my life.
My Mom has told me stories about Joni since I was little, and when I was fourteen or so my favorite song was Alone, Yet Not Alone which she sang. But it wasn’t until this January that I read her book. I did so in two days.
We were on a trip visiting our extended family, and once again, I ended up carrying a book around with me reading at every little moment I could.
Unrelated, but funny story if you’re interested…
For example: one day while we were there, my brother and grandfather wanted to go down to the gym and play basketball. I’m not athletic, by any stretch of the imagination (unless whiffle ball counts, and I’m going to admit, I’m not terrible at that). But they asked me to go along anyway. I took my book, Joni, and sat on a ledge above the indoor track that ran around the gym to read. A friend of mine called me while I was there, and when I answered, she asked, “Where are you? I hear stuff in the background.”
“At the gym.” I answered.
“Doing what?” she knows I don’t go to the gym, because she’s asked me to go before and I always decline.
“Reading.” I answered, and she laughed for a solid two minutes, then said, “Only you will be found reading in a gym.”
I can now add that to my list of Weird Things I’ve Done in My Life, right underneath getting a bowling strike, three lanes over.
Back to where I was…
So, I read this book fast and it was so. good.
Today in Christianity, it is so often taught that God wants everyone to be healed and to prosper here on earth. So many who are injured or sick, resent Him because He has not healed them. There is a reason He hasn’t though, and it’s not because He is mean and vengeful.
When sin entered the world, a need for a Savior came with it. We had chosen to believe the lies the Devil told and some of the consequences were death and disease and destruction.
He sent His Son, His only Son, to come and die in our place so that death itself would die. Even when we were the ones who had brought it upon ourselves. His work is finished. His people are secure. His new Kingdom is coming. But not here.
When we are saved by Christ Jesus, we look forward with great hope to the day that we will behold His beautiful face in a world where every tear has been wiped away, every wound has been healed, and everything sad has come untrue. That is our perfect home as His children. But. We’re not home yet.
Our souls have been brought to life, they have been healed. But our earthly bodies are day by day fading away. Here there is still death and disease and destruction. But our Lord tells us, that even in this broken world, He works all things for HIS GLORY and OUR GOOD.
Isn’t that a lovely promise? It’s the one Joni’s life so beautifully proves.
Maybe through pain He will bring peace.
Maybe through suffering, He will show you His sufficiency.
Maybe through the chaos, He will calm you.
Maybe through disease, He will teach you to delight in Him.
Maybe, maybe these storms and heartaches and trials are really blessings in disguise. Slowly, and continually reminding us of His unending love and care, and causing us to long for the day when everything is made new and perfect, and we can behold Him face-to-face.
Joni has learned that years in a wheelchair, a battle with cancer, daily chronic pain, and the death of a few earthly dreams, is a small price to pay for what she received in return: a deep dependence and love for Christ. May we all learn from her, and strive to see our sufferings and trials as Joni does. As gifts.
Honesty is the best policy…
Joni is very upfront and honest about her questions regarding her faith early on in her journey to recovery from the accident, and the struggle she faced to believe that God loved her and was really good in the midst of so much hardship. I’m so thankful that she is. The wonderful thing is that Joni expresses her question, and then later answers it for the reader. She uses her own questions as tools for sharing the truth, and she does it so well. She questions, “Is He really good?” and ends with, “He is always good.” It is truly a beautiful story.
When you read this book, which I sincerely hope you do, I believe you will be encouraged and challenged. So please. Waste no time. Read the book. Even if you aren’t a big reader normally.
Things worth mentioning…
One of the results of her accident was the way that would affect marriage. In the book, Chapter 13 to be exact, she does discuss her concern that physical intimacy would be one of the things proving difficult. No inappropriate details by any stretch of the imagination. Just a heads up for parents who might read it aloud to younger kids. I have no negative remarks or concerns with this book. Truly a treasure for Christians young and old.
Here at The Corner Shelf, you’ll find Joni: An Unforgettable Story on The Top Shelf.