I have gained so much from the writing and ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni is a quadriplegic after a diving accident as a teenager. Her books and speaking have given me a greater understanding of the place of suffering in pain in our lives. Recently, her husband, Ken, wrote one of her devotionals (sent to us by Dan Overmeyer). I thought you would appreciate the opportunity to read it:
I’ve never written one of my wife’s devotionals before, but I wanted to do it today. July 3 is our anniversary. I also wanted to write about the time Joni survived a struggle against double pneumonia.
Those nine days in the hospital were extremely difficult for Joni. They were difficult for me, too. I felt helpless, unable to do much for her except to press on her abdomen to help her cough. I stayed at the hospital every night, making sure she had someone to be her “muscles” when she needed help breathing. Quadriplegics like Joni have limited lung capacity, and many don’t live through such an ordeal. It’s amazing she recovered. Obviously God has much more work for her to do.
And me, too. For all these years, we’ve shared a marvelous mission together. And underline that word together. Joni and I were never more “together” than when she and I were battling against her pneumonia in the hospital. One would think a feeling of togetherness would occur over a candlelight dinner or a romantic vacation. But isn’t it just like God to strengthen our unity, deepen our commitment, and breathe fresh romance into our marriage through, well… dealing with pneumonia in a hospital?!
The sense of being together is never stronger than when you are in the trenches with a loved one battling a common enemy side by side. Stressful situations can bring us closer together. Ephesians 2:22 says, “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”
Father, help me find someone today with whom I can exalt Your name. If an affliction, disappointment or illness is separating me from a loved one, give me the grace and wisdom to embrace them in the midst of hardship. I want to be built up “together” with them… all for the praise of Your glory.