Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

He Answered Her Not

March 14, 2019

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story from Matthew Chapter 15.

And it’s the story of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus, begging him to heal her daughter who was demon- possessed. She’d heard that Jesus could do miraculous works; her friends had seen the Lord do remarkable things. And being the mother of a little girl in misery? She was begging for help from Jesus.

And how did the Lord respond to her? Well, it says in verse 23, “Jesus answered her not a word.” Can you imagine how that Canaanite woman felt? Here she was longing for Jesus to answer her cry, help her daughter, but she only got silence. Can you picture yourself in that situation? You’re longing for relief from some heartbreaking blow; you go to God for help, but only silence and a sense of mystery meet you. “He answered her not a word.” it says.

Now it is Charles Spurgeon who gives special insight into this story, and I want to pass it on to you. Because if you read the entire account, Jesus isn’t really showing His disapproval, He is showing His desire to bless this special woman because of her love and her persistent trust. Because when she continues to prod Him again and again, asking for help, it’s clear that He is testing her. Pushing her, a bit. For He replies to her, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Hmm, what’s she going to say to that? Well, curiously, she does not turn away. Any other person would have done so, perhaps in anger or disappointment. But the Canaanite woman still tries to engage Jesus; she persists and responds: “Yes, Lord, it is, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” And that is when Jesus poured out His blessing on this precious woman. Because of her faith; because she was persistent and she hung on and did not become deterred, because of her devotion to her child and her fervor in pursuing Jesus, He answered her prayer. And her daughter was healed.

Yes, God had every intention of blessing that Canaanite woman and her daughter. But He did it in such a mysterious way that, perhaps, only she in the end understood. Because it’s true, isn’t it; that sometimes God will bend over one of His children with smiles and full of love, speaking tender words, showing infinite affection. However, on another child, He might only give a look of loving approval. And then still, on another child, He might pass them by without stopping for a word. God loves all three of those children, but He treats each one differently because of their varied and different stages of spiritual maturity. And the same is true for us.

Some Christians have a fragile faith that requires a different touch from the Lord – perhaps a gentler, kinder touch. God knows their faith will fail if He deals too harshly with them. Other Christians have a stronger faith and God knows they will trust Him however things go and whatever people do, it doesn’t matter. But finally, there are some Christians that God, well… He even seems to neglect them and not notice them. For those, God appears to be dealing with them harshly. But He has a reason, a purpose. For God knows those are the Christians who are not dismayed by circumstances, nor are they dissuaded if the Spirit seems absent. God knows they will trust Him even when their natural inclinations would insist otherwise. And bless their hearts, these are the believers that God, I think, is training for the highest and the holiest service. The lesson here? Will you be like the Canaanite woman? Will you continue to pursue Christ, prod and push no matter what? For it may well be that He is training you for His high and holy service.

By: Joni Eareckson Tada

© Joni and Friends

Featured Offer

Scripture Cards
Keep your favorite Bible verses close at hand, and share one with a friend! These elegant cards feature artwork by Joni Eareckson Tada on one side and Scripture on the other.

Archives

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and isn’t it amazing how God will lead us? Like the way He’s led Bernie Punte all these years. Now Bernie was a Christian, but he really wasn’t involved in outreach or ministry. One day, though, he was listening to Christian radio (just like you are) and he happened to come across "Joni and Friends", and when Bernie heard about our outreach to people with disabilities around the world, he gave a donation (bless his heart). And for that, he received a note of thanks and a copy of my book, Joni (which he read). The Joni book really inspired him and got him to thinking and he wondered, "Well, wow! What have I done in my life to serve others?" So, right there, he sensed God was leading him, but to what? Where was he to serve? Well, when he got connected to our ministry, he also learned about ‘Wheels for the World’ and that really got him energized. He decided to travel with us overseas as a wheelchair mechanic on a Wheels team. For Bernie, serving on the Wheels team was wonderful. It was a chance to make a real impact on the lives of needy, disabled people; giving them not only wheelchairs but Bibles and the message of salvation. When we sensed his enthusiasm, we decided to ask if he would also like to collect wheelchairs for us, but he politely declined as he had a full-time job and could not imagine having the hours to do that as well. Little did he know that God had different plans. Because for the next two days, all Bernie could think about was collecting wheelchairs! He felt strongly that God was leading him to give it a try. And so, he called Joni and Friends back up and he signed up to be a Chair Corps volunteer. And when he did that, he felt such peace. God had led him from one thing to the next, and now, he knew that his service in the kingdom would be to collect wheelchairs to be restored so that disabled people, who have nothing, could now have freedom to move about. And now? For fourteen years, this man has been gladly collecting wheelchairs in the Baltimore area and beyond. Bernie’s a really friendly guy and he’s made great friends with all sorts of leaders and community organizations and businesses. He’s building relationships; he’s sharing seeds of the Gospel. God has given him such favor, that he’s forged friendships with wheelchair donors who sometimes give as many as 60 wheelchairs at a time. As his success grew, it became necessary for Bernie to acquire a permanent storage space for all these wheelchairs. And through the help of some friends, he was able to buy a trailer that can store up to about 120 wheelchairs at a time. I mean, this guy’s collected thousands of wheelchairs, and he also continues to travel every year as a mechanic with Wheels for the World. Serving on outreaches and fitting refurbished wheelchairs to people moves Bernie's heart. And it energizes him to keep collecting wheelchairs because every year he sees new people whose lives are being changed by the gift of mobility and hope in Jesus. God has led him all this way… so that he could be used of the Lord to bring people to Christ in a most unusual way. Look, friend, God might be asking you to serve and maybe serve as a Chair Corps volunteer like Bernie. If so, he’d say: "Give it a try.” And I would say the same. I’ve posted a video today on what it looks like to actually collect wheelchairs—so for more info on how you can have a ministry, a ministry that changes people’s lives, a ministry like Bernie’s, contact joniradio.org today. And as Hebrews 13 says, God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. That’s a promise from the Word of God to you. Visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and while you are there be sure to share a prayer request. When you have a chance today, drop by joniandfriends.org. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 13, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an uneasy story… You see, there's a new mall in town and my friend and I went to visit it last weekend. I could not believe how many lingerie stores there are now—even Chico's has expanded into lingerie. It seems to be all the rage, but I wheeled right past those shops. I did not even slow down, did not even look at the mannequins, didn't even glance in, because I know from years of experience in this wheelchair I gotta steer clear of places like, like Victoria's Secret. Now, now I don't have anything against lacey, intimate apparel, it's just that because of my quadriplegia, that stuff just isn’t “me.” And besides I don't want to set before my eyes those cute little lacey, frilly things that remind me of what I've lost, what is not mine. I mean, I'm not standing on my feet with a slim, trim figure—again, that’s not me. So, I don't want to go down a road, or into a store in the mall, which will only stir up discontent; that’s the key. I don't want to look at a mannequin wearing something skimpy and start comparing my paralyzed body with someone standing up (even if that someone is a plaster of Paris mannequin in the window of a store). "Turn my eyes away from worthless things..." That advice is found in Psalm 119, and boy, is it good counsel these days. ‘Cause you know how it is in our culture, right? When coming up out of depression, discouragement, or the despairing news of some medical condition, or other painful chronic problem, we "do our souls a favor" when we stay focused on things that are beneficial to our spiritual health, not a detriment. It's one reason I don't even flip through lingerie catalogs when they come to my house. Perhaps one of the most challenging yet rewarding roads to spiritual health is the "discipline" of single-minded satisfaction on what has come from God's hand. And the best way to safeguard your contentment in Christ is to ask the Holy Spirit to whisper Psalm 119 into your ear every now and then, "Turn my eyes away from worthless things." Worthless things are the kind that only feed self-pity or self-centeredness. Worthless things carry your mind off into daydreams. Worthless things have no redeemable value, no eternal worth. And remember, the psalmist is asking God: he says, Lord, you, you’re the one, please turn away my eyes, tell me when something is worthless, that is, something that's not worth looking at or pondering or contemplating. And so, friend, I challenge you to do it today. I'm asking you to join me in disciplining your eyes and your mind—I can think of the worthless things you sometimes see at a shopping mall, or flipping through a magazine. The worthless things that will pop up those ads on your computer, or maybe even the worthless things on a dessert tray, or how about cruising the channels on your television late at night?Yikes! If you want to remain content in Christ and the lot in life with which He's blessed you, then turn your eyes away from everything, everything that's worthless. And instead, turn your eyes toward Jesus who, by the way, the next time, will have you happily convinced that the thing you wanted to look at anyway wasn't worth looking at. Right? Right! And I would like to hear your opinion on this. I'm posting this program on my Facebook page today, so let me hear from you on a post. What are the worthless things that you’d like to stop looking at? Let us know and we will be praying for you. By the way, I would love to hear what you are praying about or a favorite Bible verse that you are memorizing. Tell me about it. Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org or you can always write me at Joni and Friends, Post Office box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. If the Lord has answered some prayer of yours today, guess what? Stop right after we are done here and tell Him “Thanks”. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 12, 2019
Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I sure wish you could meet Don Bania. I mean this guy is so heavenly-minded sitting in his wheelchair. Don broke his neck over 45 years ago and he sits tall and straight in his chair with his arms resting on a lap board. He's pretty handsome with his gray beard, clear blue eyes and very winning smile. I'm looking at a photo of him right now sitting in front of racks of used wheelchairs. Don collects wheelchairs for us and in the photo he's got this, this T-shirt on that says, "Got Wheelchairs?"...you know, like the old TV commercial: "Got Milk?" Don knows he just can't get up and go be a missionary in some foreign country. As it is in his wheelchair, it's hard enough for him to get around his home town. But Don Bania still has a heart for disabled people like him overseas in poorer countries, people who are not able to sit up in a wheelchair like he can, people who spend most of their days in bed, or they crawl around in the dirt because they cannot afford a wheelchair, and so Don, with his quadriplegia, is doing something about it. Through his network of friends, he is linked up with the kids at Teen Challenge who help him collect used wheelchairs, then there's a local trucking company that picks up those chairs free of charge, then his friends at a local auto and body shop provide free storage for those wheelchairs, and finally, Don's local Wal*Mart transports those wheelchairs to the prisons nationwide where inmates restore them and make them like new. The thing is, Don Bania has assembled this entire team of ministries: people, friends, locals, churches, local businesses, and he's doing it all from his wheelchair. He's kind of like the 'traffic control center,' organizing everything from his home base on his home phone. When I asked him about this incredible ministry, Don explained to me that he believes that he and his team have "a little part in eternal salvation of those who receive our wheelchairs. Plus, we're also helping them restore their dignity and liberty, he says. It's amazing, he tells me, that a wheelchair which is often seen as an object of hopelessness and sorrow, has become a symbol of mobility and hope as well as spreading the Gospel worldwide." You know I read that comment of Don's and I just can't wait for heaven on that wonderful day when he will finally rise up out of his wheelchair to receive his eternal prize. And by his side will be many hundreds like him from every tongue, tribe and nation, people who, like Don Bania, will have shed their disabilities and they will rise up on grateful, glorified legs to praise the Father for His gracious gift of salvation. Hallelujah, I can't wait, because you know what, I'm one of them! Well, maybe you're not able to go on the mission field like Don Bania, maybe you too have significant limitations which keep you close to home. Well, believe me you can have a part in eternal salvation of needy people in other parts of the world. Like my friend Don, you, I believe you; can collect wheelchairs for Wheels for the World. We need people like you. I’ve posted a video on joniradio.org today that shows you exactly what it’s like to collect used but serviceable wheelchairs in your community. And if you have more questions, I’ve included a link where you can get more info. ‘Cause we need more Chair Corps volunteers, as we call helpers like Don Bania. So, please consider serving with us, would you, by collecting chairs for needy, disabled people. Come on, get involved. Find out how you can get engaged at joniradio.org. Again, that’s joniradio.org to become a Chair Corps rep and collect wheelchairs for people all over the world. Thanks for listening to Joni and Friends. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 11, 2019
I've got a 4” scar on my neck and I wouldn't change it for anything. Hi! Welcome to Joni and Friends and I'm Joni Eareckson Tada. And, yes, even though decades have passed since I broke my neck, you can still see that scar. I should tell you though it didn't happen when I dove in the water. I got this scar when the surgeons opened up the front of my neck in order to fuse the interior of the two cervical vertebrae that I had broken. For many months, almost a year after that surgery, I tried so hard to cover up that 4” ugly red gash in the front of my neck. I tried rubbing vitamin E on it, hoping that it would go away. It was too big to mask with makeup and so, for a while, I wore nothing but turtleneck sweaters ... even in the summer; that’s how embarrassed I used to be about this scar. Well, over time, the red color began to disappear and, I guess, all that Vitamin E on it even made it look smooth. And over more time, my attitude about that scar changed as well. But something else had changed – I had been reading God's Word, especially the parts about His plan and purpose in the midst of our sufferings. And that is what made all the difference. My perspective on scars and the suffering that they represent began to change when I became convinced that God was going to do something wonderful and powerful through that broken neck. And when I began to see that wonderful thing God was doing… (you know, seeing how my wheelchair opened doors for giving the Gospel) well, I tell you that scar was the symbol of my broken neck and it became something in which I could boast. I was able to boast in my affliction, boast in the scar, just as the Bible was telling me to do… and that scar on my neck showed that I belonged to Jesus in a very unique, unusual and special way. It was my—well for lack of a better word – it was my initiation mark into the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. You know, I thought about this not long ago when I read the Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians Chapter 6, verse 17. He says there, “For I bear on my body the scars that show that I belong to Jesus.” Wow! Think about that. Just like the apostle, that gash on my neck is God's mark of ownership on me. And, listen, even the Lord carries those marks for Isaiah chapter 49 tells us that “He has engraved us on the palm of His hand.” You know, I like to imagine that when God says He engraved us on the palms of His hands that that engraving, that scar is the very wound from the nails that were driven through His hands. He looks at those nail prints and thinks of us. Wow! So, friend, what is God's mark of ownership on you? Maybe it is a scar, or a pair of crutches, a hearing aid or a back brace or knee brace. Well, if that physical problem has forced you to lean harder on Jesus, it means something. It’s a tangible reminder of your need of God. So think, your body has been marred so that it displays God's ownership of your life. Everybody can see you belong to Him. So, whatever that scar or physical reminder is, take a minute to boast in it, would you … to tell others, as well as the unseen world of demons and angels looking on, that that scar that you used to be embarrassed about keeps you depending on Jesus and you belong to Him and not to the world ... and as you do boast, remember that the Lord bears His own physical reminder that you belong to Him, as well … and because you’re engraved right in the palm of His hand. Wow! What a scar that is! Contact us at joniradio.org. That’s a different link to my radio page than you usually hear me say, but it’s a lot easier: joniradio.org. God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends. © Joni and Friends
March 8, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni here to tell you about my friend, the x-ray machine. I better explain that. Uh, not many people would say a machine was their friend, but the large and lumbering 3D-Conformal Radiation Machine has been our fiercest ally in my battle against cancer. I even posted today on joniradio.org a photo of me and Ken standing in front of this huge x-ray machine. So, click on my radio page, give it a look and laugh with us, okay?! And you should know we’ve even named this machine. I call it Jael, that’s spelled J,a,e,l., and if you know your Old Testament, you might recognize that name and the spelling. Jael was the heroine in the book of Judges who ruthlessly killed Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite armies; she drove a stake through his head and nailed him to the ground, all to help rescue Israel from her enemies. So, it wasn’t Barak or even Deborah who God's people lauded that fateful day – no, it was a Bedouin woman who simply seized the opportunity to act on behalf of the people of God. So now do you see why I call this big x-ray machine Jael, the woman who drove that stake through the temple of a man, killing him instantly? Okay, alright, I know, the story sounds awful, but not when applied to a machine that ruthlessly obliterates enemy-cancer cells :-). Yep, Jael is our friend. And like the Jael of the Bible, this machine has got great aim. So, take a look at that fun photo on joniradio.org and take a moment to praise God for modern technology, like this radiation machine, something that He uses to kill cancer. And I share all this today because last week was my final session of radiation. I went through 35 sessions under that big machine, and during each treatment when they aimed those x-rays on my chest wall, I thanked God for bringing every one of His resources to bear against this dreaded disease. They say in that area that’s been radiated, there’s only a 2-5% chance of it reoccurring in that part that’s been x-rayed. So…what about any renegade cancer cells that may have migrated beyond the treated area of my chest wall? Well, for the rest of my life, I am on a drug that inhibits estrogen, as well as fast-growing cells. That drug is intended to destroy any maverick little cancer cells floating around elsewhere. And you know what? I'm excited. I mean, come on, I'm still sitting up, and I’m out and about in my wheelchair and, well…I’m talking to you and am serving the Lord and doing work with Joni and Friends. So, man, I couldn’t be happier -- whether or not all this treatment eradicates all the cancer; whether or not it comes back, right now is not my worry. I'm not concerned for the future. I can take great confidence that Ken and I have done everything we could possibly do, and so we trust God for the months and years to come. Like another hero in the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel, I can say “thus far the Lord has helped us, and He will continue to help us.” The future is His. And worry fades away when we are convinced that God can be trusted with the future. So, thank you for praying for me and my husband Ken as we battled this cancer. We have felt so surrounded, so supported in prayer (as though we were hydroplaning on top of everyone’s intercessions). And hey, don’t forget to visit joniradio.org today and enjoy this really fun photo of Ken and me in front of that big radiation machine…our friend Jael (who’s really, really good at killing the enemy). © Joni and Friends
March 7, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to "Joni and Friends." Sarah loves her work as a physical therapist, and she works hard at it. But because she knows Jesus, there was always this, um… I don’t know, drive in her to somehow, someway, use her physical therapy skills in ministry. Now, it’s pretty hard to do that in a church setting or in a Bible study, but Sarah just knew there was a niche for her to do ministry somewhere as a physical therapist. And that’s when she decided to go on-line and start exploring. After typing in ‘international mission organizations,’ she found out about Joni and Friends. Aha! As she explored our website, Sarah found all kinds of ways to use her physical therapy skills in ministry. In a short time, the Lord led her to serve at our International Family Retreats in Guatemala and Peru. In those developing countries, rarely do special-needs families connect with a healthcare professional like Sarah. And so, this young woman did double-duty in helping moms and dads get better trained in assisting their son or daughter in a wheelchair. From there, though, Sarah went on. She went on to serve on a Wheels for the World outreach. And when she came home from that, she decided to sign up as a Chair Corps volunteer, collecting wheelchairs and walkers to be refurbished and used on Wheels’ trips. Sarah was hooked, and before long, she and her husband were leading a Beyond Suffering small group at her local church. ‘Man, thank you Jesus,’ she prayed. ‘I'm really using my physical therapy skills to do ministry for you.’ Well, Sarah was about to see just how much ministry, because in 2016, when she was in Peru, it all came together. She was leading a Bible study for mothers of special-needs children. And after the Gospel was shared, for some reason she just felt led, felt compelled to stand up and sing “In Christ Alone” and she did it in her halting Spanish. When she finished the song, all the mothers were silent; they were dabbing their eyes. Sarah’s co-leader asked in Spanish if any of the women would like to receive Christ as their Savior. “Salvation,” she said, “is not about doing things Christ wants us to do; salvation is about Christ and Christ alone.” That was a different slant for these special-needs moms, and all of them – not just four or five – but all of them stood up and gave their lives to the Lord Jesus. Sarah said it was beautiful, there were hugs and tears, and over the next few days, every woman gave her testimony of how God had changed her life. “And it wouldn’t have happened without this Family Retreat in our nation,” they all chimed in and said that. Not one of those mothers had ever considered that their child with a disability could be a blessing; could be made in the image of God. All those moms went away from retreat amazed that their children were a gift from God, disability or not. Yes, Sarah loves her job as a physical therapist, but she really loves the ministry that it affords her through Joni and Friends. And, um, I don’t know; if you’re a physical therapist, maybe you’d say the same. In fact, if you are a physical therapist, Sarah would say: “Come and serve with Joni and Friends.” Just go on joniradio.org for all the details. And while you’re on my radio page, I posted a wonderful video that shows up close and personal how much fun and fellowship can be found at an International Family Retreat. So please today check out the video at joniradio.org, and visit our International Family Retreat page to learn more how you can get involved – just like Sarah. God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 6, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and if you know me, you know I love hymns. And that’s why I’ve got my good friend in studio today, Tommy Walker. Tommy, thanks for coming over. TOMMY: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here. JONI:Well, the reason I want to introduce my listening audience to you is because you love hymns too. TOMMY: That’s right! JONI: You really do. But your music, oh my goodness, you give hymns an upbeat, contemporary kind of ‘kick it up a notch’, and energize it a bit more, and pump it up with a bit more enthusiasm. You take some of the classics like “Rejoice, the Lord is King” and you make it downright fun. And Tommy, I’ll never forget the first time that I heard your album “Generation Hymns.” I was blown away. It became tops on my playlist down the 101 freeway every time I was driving. So, what inspired you to just take hymns and make them so fresh? TOMMY: Well, I grew up with the hymns; so blessed to be in a Christian family. I remember falling asleep under my mom’s grand piano hearing her play the hymns and little did I know; the truth, the theology was all being planted in my as a little kid hearing those hymns over and over again. So I also see the hymns as generational worship, generational connectors, you know, as they have been to the past generations, so I want them to continue to be that. JONI: Recently I was so blessed, humbled, when you invited me to do harmony, to sing along with you on an original piece that you wrote – not a hymn – a contemporary song called “Number of My Days” and it is from a favorite verse, Psalm 90, verse 12, “Teach me to number my days, O Lord, that I might apply my heart to wisdom.” What inspired you to write this song? TOMMY: Well, I was just sitting depressed, realizing that I will be forgotten one day when I die and then the Lord reminded me, “But you’ll never be forgotten in the world yet to come, because you will be with me.” That and going along with just wanting to be a person that has heaven ever before me. JONI: (Singing): It won’t be long I’ll be forgotten by this world… TOMMY: (Singing): I’ll never be forgotten in the world that’s yet to come, ’cause I’ll see the One who knew me before I was known. JONI/TOMMY: (Singing): So I’m counting the number of my days. JONI: You know, Tommy, I often say to people when they ask ‘how do you manage quadriplegia, life in a wheelchair, cancer, chronic pain? I tell them I sing my way through suffering. Good advice, would you agree? TOMMY: Absolutely. Singing forces us to put our whole being into declaring what is actually true. According to Google, at least, over 200 times the Bible mentions to sing to the Lord and I think it’s because it is a way of expressing what is absolutely, actually true with our whole being. JONI: Well, Tommy again you helped me sing my way through suffering because any one of us, my friends listening, we’ve got hardships, our emotions, our feelings, have us go constantly wayward thinking the most darkest thoughts, doubting the goodness of God, doubting His sovereignty, but it is the doctrine, the solid good words of timeless hymns that were written by people who suffered much that helps us keep the ballast. So, Tommy, thank you for doing that. TOMMY: Amen. JONI: I really want you to see this video of Tommy and I recording, TOMMY: “Number of my Days” JONI: Thank you! Just go to joniradio.org today where I’ve got a link to Tommywalkerministries.org and you’ll have a chance to not only see the video of the day that we actually recorded that fun song, but also check out his other albums there, especially “Generation Hymns.” Tommywalkerministries.org and enjoy the entire website, check it out, and sing along. Thanks Tommy. TOMMY: Thank you, Joni. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 5, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a real miracle story. And miracles happen all the time at a Family Retreat; especially one that’s held in a developing nation. Like this month, we’ll be holding an International Family Retreat near Lutsk, Ukraine. Moms and dads who have kids with disabilities in a place like Ukraine, well…there’s a lot of social stigma; parents are often afraid to even bring their special-needs kids out in public; they’re shoved aside, they’re maligned, moms and dads are even told to take their kids out of the store. You’re not welcome here. And that was the case with Paul and his parents. Paul’s a 17-year-old boy with a hefty dose of autism and a limited ability to speak. Paul barely says anything, and his parents had come to accept that…that is, until Talent Night at last year’s International Family Retreat in Serbia. Now talent night is a chance to celebrate and applaud the gifts God has given special-needs kids. Paul’s parents assumed that their son would not want to participate – I mean, he’d never shown any talent for anything. But that night, to his parent’s surprise, Paul decided to get up and sing a pop song. His mom and dad stared wide-eyed, I mean, what was their son doing? Paul did not typically like crowds and had never sung before in his life! Okay, so this 17-year- old grabs the microphone and sang a contemporary song, but then he stops. He smiles at everyone and very clearly in English, word for word, he sang, “There is none like You. No one else can touch my heart like you do. I can search for all eternity, Lord, and I’ll find there is none like You.” What?! I mean, Paul’s family weren’t even believers; they had never been open to the Gospel message. And here, their kid is perfectly singing a praise song. Well, it seems that one of the volunteers had sung it earlier in the week, and Paul kept listening intently—he quickly learned it. Well this kid could not only sing; he could speak! I mean, that praise song contains, what, 25 words. And this was amazing for a teenager who had never strung three words together. And that night, after finishing his song, he yelled into the microphone, “Hvala ti, Isuse!” which they say in Serbian means, “Thank you, Jesus!” Everyone jumped to their feet, wildly applauding; even they knew that this was a miracle. Now as you’d guess, Paul and his parents experienced a life-transformation. Not only as it related to his autism, but to their faith, because before talent night was over, this boy and his mom and dad bowed their hearts before Jesus and embraced Christ as their Savior. Later that evening during debrief, the leader of that International Family Retreat said to the others, she said, “You know, I have witnessed all kinds of things at our Family Retreats, but to see a child that barely speaks, and does not sing, did not grow up in church, never had heard the Gospel, suddenly sing to Jesus and then thank Him in front of a crowd, it was a pure miracle beyond all my expectations. God is obviously raising up kids with disabilities to take his great Gospel into their homes!” And you know what, that leader is right. So this month as we hold another International Family Retreat in Ukraine, be praying for kids like Paul. Be praying that these children and their parents come to accept Christ as their Savior. And if you’d like to see a really cool video of what a Family Retreat looks like in a developing nation, like Serbia or Ukraine, watch the one we posted today at joniradio.org. And one more thing, we at Joni and Friends would love to pray for you and your troubles, so share with us your prayer need today at joniradio.org. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 4, 2019
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Joni and Friends. Where we sure do love “Wheels for the World”. It’s our program where we take refurbished wheelchairs and Bibles to very needy disabled children around the world who crawl in the dirt and cannot go to school for lack of a wheelchair. Our trained physical therapy volunteers do such a great job. They hand-fit each wheelchair to whatever disabled child or adult. These disabled people hear the good news, they receive a Bible in their own language, and their family is connected with a caring church who provides follow-up. It’s a great outreach and my husband Ken and I love participating on “Wheels” trips. I remember when Ken and I landed in Havana, Cuba on one of our “Wheels for the World” trips. My power wheelchair really threw the airport officials into a tizzy, and I they escorted me to an airport doctor's office. Uh, they looked at my chair and I think they thought I was "sick" and I needed supervision before boarding our connecting flight to Santiago de Cuba. This really irked me because I knew it was going to delay our team as well as our chartered flight. I shook my head, thinking, God, why now? Why this? Well, I was taken to a small office where I met two female doctors and a disabled woman who was also waiting (no one spoke English in this little room). And looking around, I realized, Lord, I think I see what you’re doing here; this is a unique opportunity, a chance to evangelistic-ly think outside the box. I got a feeling you want me to do an "outreach" right here with my high school Spanish. So, I began to sing out loud in Spanish (Joni singing in Spanish). It was the only Christian song I knew. And oh my goodness, did that get people's attention. I then asked in halting Spanish, (Joni speaking in Spanish). The two doctors stared at one another. One asked in Spanish, "We see you are an American. Why, why are you in our country?" And again I explained in my high school Spanish that we were bringing (Joni speaking in Spanish) wheelchairs and Bibles as gifts to the disabled people of Cuba. I went on to describe the mandate of our Savior to go into all the world and share the good news. "What is this good news?" she asked in a softer voice. And at that, her fellow doctor brightened, ran up back to her cubicle, and returned holding a battered, bent-paged Bible she had gotten from a Josh McDowell outreach like decades earlier. And before I knew it, this doctor began explaining the gospel in sixty-mile-an-hour Spanish to her coworker. It was clear that this Christian doctor had just been waiting, and she’d been praying for an opportunity to open up and share Christ with her friend, and suddenly it all happened with me and my song. This Christian doctor then found the courage to share her faith in Jesus! And I sat there and watched in amazement as the Christian doctor pointed to various passages in Romans and then back at the Gospels. Her fellow doctor, the unbeliever, was fascinated and she looked up and kept smiling at me… actually, both of them smiled at me. And I could tell there had been a real breakthrough. Who knows what you might get started once you take that first step of faith and share a word about your Savior! The challenge is to think outside the box, right? and go beyond the program, and reach the people God places in your path right then. So, would you please pray right now for our “Wheels for the World” team today as they head to the Dominican Republic with wheelchairs and Bibles, all to the end of leading Spanish-speaking people to Christ. Just like those two doctors in Cuba. Hey friend, at Joni and Friends we’d like to pray for you so share with us your thoughts and your prayer needs at joniandfriends.org. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
March 1, 2019
I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a fun follow-up to “Heart for the Disabled”. Back in January you heard me share those 5 stories of precious people and their disabled loved ones who needed encouragement. And oh my goodness, did you respond! I don’t know how we do it, but every year we seem to keep breaking records. Thank you for responding with your heart and writing such wonderful notes of encouragement laced with scripture and undergirded by prayer. Many of you sent wonderful gifts: handmade cards and homemade items, and yes, even gift cards to restaurants and Amazon and many more. And I cannot thank you enough. But rather than me thank you, let’s hear from one of the families. This is what they wrote: “Dear Joni, We are so humbled, and we want to thank you for blessing us immensely on Heart for the Disabled week for Valentine’s Day!!! We were so excited when we got our box! In your cover letter, Joni, you wrote that maybe our box of cards and gifts would come on just a day that we were needing a little boost of encouragement. Well, our box sure did! It was delayed in arriving and did not come until the week after Valentine’s Day. But that was great because that week we were actually having a really tough time; not in a pity party way, but without much outside help at all and we were feeling low, thinking that no one really understood what we’re go through and how much we really do need help. But then your box of Heart for the Disabled things arrived, and it was God’s way of saying, I know! I can see you! And the Lord really blessed us with that Valentine’s box on our doorstep!!! “We spent literally hours going through it all, reading all the beautiful notes and personal messages, as well as meditating on all the scriptures that were handpicked and written for us! We were beyond blessed (and shocked!!) at all the notes, and cards, and letters, and gift cards, and gifts!!! And then, lo and behold, a little over a week later when we had to rush to the ER, we came home exhausted and – oh my goodness – there was a second box of gifts and cards (I suppose it came from people whose cards and things were mailed a little late). We could not believe it. Once again, God encouraged us exactly when we needed it. And we love your second cover letter with that second box, as well, reminding us that God’s never going to abandon us. “Oh, how we were chosen by you, Joni to be honored in this way astounds us, and then to be blessed by so many of your people around the country. I just want you to know, and your listeners, that we felt so loved, so much a part of the huge family of God from around this nation. And we just want to thank you and thank all the many friends who took part in your Heart for the Disabled.” Wow! Oh my goodness! Friend, if you participated in Heart for the Disabled back in January, God bless you. God bless you for reminding all 5 families this year that God’s grace can sustain them through their hardships, no matter how difficult the disability in the family, and no matter how painful. Thank you for taking the time – not everyone takes time to be “kind to the needy,” as it says in Proverbs 19. But that kindness, it also says, honors God. So friend listening, let that be your reward. Your cards, notes, scriptures gifts brought honor to God. You were kind to the needy, and it reflected wonderfully on your Savior. So, from all of us at Joni and Friends, and all those 5 families who received all your encouragement, thank you! Thank you again for participating in Heart for the Disabled this year! God bless you, and we hope you will participate next year. Thanks for listening today on Joni and Friends. By: Joni Eareckson Tada © Joni and Friends
February 28, 2019
See More Episodes
Listen to Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope on
Amazon Echo
Learn How
Learn How

Featured Offer

Scripture Cards
Keep your favorite Bible verses close at hand, and share one with a friend! These elegant cards feature artwork by Joni Eareckson Tada on one side and Scripture on the other.

About Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope is a broadcast ministry of Joni and Friends committed to bringing the Gospel and practical help to people impacted by disability around the world. Joni and Friends has been advancing disability ministry for over 40 years. Their mission to glorify God, communicate the Gospel and mobilize the global church to evangelize, disciple and serve people living with disability answers the call found in Luke 14 to “bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame… so that my house will be full.”

About Joni Eareckson Tada

Paralyzed as the result of a diving accident at age 17, Joni Eareckson Tada envisions a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ. As the Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, she is known worldwide as an author, speaker, disability rights advocate and radio personality. Her 10,000 radio programs are broadcast across the country and around the world, inspiring listeners to realize that there is hope in every hardship.
Joni Eareckson Tada is an esteemed Christian stateswoman and respected global leader in disability advocacy. Although a 1967 diving accident left her a quadriplegic, she emerged from rehabilitation with a determination to help others with similar disabilities. Mrs. Tada serves as CEO of Joni and Friends, a Christian organization which provides programs and services for thousands of special-needs families around the world. President Reagan appointed Mrs. Tada to the National Council on Disability, then reappointed by President George H.W. Bush. During her tenure, the ADA was passed and signed into law. Mrs. Tada served as advisor to Condoleezza Rice on the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. She served as Senior Associate for Disability Concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The Colson Center on Christian Worldview awarded Joni Tada its prestigious William Wilberforce Award, and she was also inducted into
Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers. 
Joni Eareckson Tada has been awarded several honorary degrees, including Doctor of Humanities from Gordon College and Doctor of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary. She is an effective communicator, sharing her inspirational message in books, through artwork, radio, and other media. Joni Tada served as General Editor of the Beyond Suffering Bible, a special edition published by Tyndale for people affected by disability. Joni and her husband Ken were married in 1982 and reside in Calabasas, California.

Contact Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope with Joni Eareckson Tada

Mailing Address
Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope
PO Box 3333
Agoura Hills, CA 91376-3333

Telephone
818-707-5664