I want to join Nicole in urging you to purchase Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor when it comes out in September. To increase your anticipation for this resource, and to encourage you in the midst of your trials, we will be quoting excerpts from the book each day for the remainder of the week.
Our first selection comes from one of our favorite authors and speakers, Joni Eareckson Tada (see Mom’s post “When I saw Joni Dance”), founder of Joni & Friends, author of When God Weeps, and herself a quadrapalegic. In Suffering and the Sovereignty of God she contributes a chapter entitled: “Hope…The Best of Things.” The following is a brief passage from the chapter. Also, I want to encourage you to listen to the message on which this chapter was based, given at the 2005 Desiring God National Conference. May Joni’s reliance upon God’s strength provoke us all to greater dependence upon Him.
Please know that I am no expert at this wheelchair thing. I’m no professional at being a quadriplegic. There are so many mornings when I wake up and I can hear my girlfriend come to the front door to help me get out of bed and get ready for the day. She goes to the kitchen, turns on the water, and starts brewing coffee. I know that in a few moments she’s going to come gliding into the bedroom, where she’ll greet me with a happy, “Good morning!” And I am lying there with my eyes closed, thinking, O God, I can’t do this. I am so tired. I don’t know how I’m going to make it to lunchtime. O God, I’m already thinking about how good it’s going to feel when I get back to bed tonight and put my head on this pillow.
I’m sure you have felt that way at some point. Maybe you feel that way every morning. But Psalm 10:17 says, “O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear.” O God, I often pray in the morning, God, I cannot do this. I cannot do this thing called quadriplegia. I have no resources for this. I have no strength for this—but you do. You’ve got resources. You’ve got strength. I can’t do quadriplegia, but I can do all things through you as you strengthen me (Phil. 4:13). I have no smile for this woman who’s going to walk into my bedroom in a moment. She could be having coffee with another friend, but she’s chosen to come here to help me get up. O God, please may I borrow your smile?