Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

Hind’s Feet

May 10, 2019
00:00 22:26

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a sweet story for Mother’s Day…

And it’s a story for any mom who is going through a painful trial, or who still has a thorn in her heart from a past wound. Like my own mother, Lindy Eareckson. When I broke my neck, that tragedy became her painful trial, as much as mine. Of course, I didn’t realize what a broken neck meant. I was just a teenager. To me, paralysis was something that would wear off in time. But my mother knew differently. And so, the painful thorn of my life-altering injury went far deeper into her heart than it did into mine. Over time, though, that thorn sank deeper into me as I began to understand the permanency of my paralysis. And while I was in the hospital, I read a little book that helped me adjust. And it was that Christian classic, maybe you’ve read it, “Hind’s Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. Perhaps you’ve heard of it and, if not, it’s really something worth reading, especially if you are struggling through pain or hardship in your walk with Christ. My mother was blessed by it, too. “Hind’s Feet” is the story of the good Shepherd’s love for a little lame young woman named Much-Afraid. And let me share with you our favorite part where the Shepherd wants to give this lame girl a little seed. Okay, so here it goes:

“Much Afraid, bent forward to look, then she gave a startled little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying in the palm of the Shepherd’s hand, but it was shaped exactly like a long, sharply-pointed thorn… She said shrinkingly, ‘This seed looks very sharp. Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?’

He answered gently, ‘It is so sharp that it slips in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that love and pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know love, you must know pain as well.’

Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and repeated his words to herself. ’When the seed of love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be loved in return,’ and then a strange new courage entered her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared her heart, and said, ‘Please then plant the seed here in my heart.’… Then the Shepherd pressed the thorn deep into her heart. And it was true; it did cause a piercing pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a sweetness she had never felt before tingled through her. It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger. Her pale, sallow cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shown. And for a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all.”

You know reading that I can say that was me. And that excerpt from the book also describes my mother. When I broke my neck, both of us learned that joy and pain go together. Peace and suffering do as well. And Tim Keller has said, “The joy of the Lord doesn’t come after the sorrow. It does not come after the weeping. The weeping drives you into the joy, and it enhances the joy, and then the joy enables you to actually feel your grief without it sinking you. And then you find you are finally emotionally healthy.” That’s what happened to me and my mother. And it’s why, for me, Mother’s Day always has in it a hint of sorrow, but a lot of joy. So, for you, mom, listening who may yet still feel the thorn in your heart, let it drive you into the arms of your Good Shepherd. And when you do, this Mother’s Day may well be bitter-sweet. But the sweetness will be all the stronger. And Lindy Eareckson would agree.

© Joni and Friends

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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.

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