Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

What If Your Baby’s Not Healthy?

March 18, 2019
00:00 4:00

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an interesting observation.

Because every expectant parent hopes that their child will grow up to become a happy person. We dream of children who will do well in school and eventually become lawyers, doctors, responsible citizens in society, children who will join Little League or play tennis. We want kids to eventually marry and have sons and daughters of their own. And for many (and I would venture to say, for most people), the idea of a happy child also means a healthy child.

But think about it: it’s pretty common to ask an expectant mother or father if, let’s say they want a boy or a girl. And the answer is usually, almost always, “You know, we don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, as long as our baby is healthy.” Of course, any parent wants a healthy baby. No loving parent wants their child to live a life of suffering; no one wants their child to bear a disability. But consider it, stop for a moment – what are we really saying? It’s like, “I’ll take the child; I don’t care about the gender or his eye color or the shape of his nose, so long as he’s healthy, that’s all that matters to me.”Listen to that line one more time: “That’s all that matters to me. I just want my child to be healthy.” What are we actually saying? Well, the underlying tone reflects what society often tells us about disabilities; that an abnormal condition, no matter how slight, is something to be feared and avoided at all costs. It’s something that creates undue hardship and, ultimately, makes the child feel like a burden. Now that is not our intention, or even how we would express it, but words matter. And the Bible is quick to remind us of it. Proverbs 18 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I realize that most people would push back; they’d argue with me and they’d say, “Look, Joni, it’s only meant as a figure of speech.” as though words do not actually matter. But listen to this: approximately 9 out of 10 unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, all because a parent did not want an “unhealthy” child. So when we say that “all that matters to me is that my baby will be healthy,” those words convey a fear that takes God and His sovereignty out of the equation. We gotta remember that every child is a gift from God; every child bears His image. So rather than say, “All that matters to me is my child is healthy,” perhaps it’s better to say, “Of course, we pray that our child will be healthy, but if God has other plans, we will accept that and love our baby all the same.” Maybe you’re a parent who has received the news that your child may well have Down syndrome. Or perhaps a friend is heartbroken that their newborn has a disability. If that child is unhealthy, did God make a mistake? And did God not make a mistake, if that newborn has a clean bill of health? Please remember that God formed, He knit together those chromosomes long before that baby was born.

This Thursday is World Down Syndrome Day and I’d love you to learn that line: “Yes, we pray our child will be healthy; but if God has other plans, we will accept that and love our baby all the same.” It’s a good line! For more insight, visit today and pick up your copy of Shauna Amick’s booklet called From Fear to Hope. Shauna is the mother of a teenager with Down syndrome and she can help you love your baby with Down syndrome too. And if you can’t email us, then just write us at Joni and Friends, Post Office Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376 and we will rush off to you right away Shauna’s booklet From Fear to Hope. 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 Again that’s

By: Joni Eareckson Tada

© 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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