When God Weeps
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada here with my friend, Shauna Amick. Shauna, it’s always good to have you in the studio.
SHAUNA: Thanks Joni.
JONI: And we’re celebrating National Get Caught Reading Month!
SHAUNA: That’s right. I’m, I’m excited about this. I didn’t even know there was such a thing (JONI: Me either) until a little while ago. (JONI: Right!) You know, as soon as I heard that phrase ‘get caught reading,’ it brought me back to the third grade when we had read-a-thons (JONI: Yep) and the contest was to see how many books we could read in a certain amount of time. And boy, I can remember as a little kid my teachers just instilling a love for reading in me then and I’m so grateful I’ve kept that with me all these years later.
JONI: So…what’s on your nightstand nowadays? What particular book has grabbed you?
SHAUNA: Well, are you ready for this? It might surprise you, Joni, but actually I am re-reading this timeless classic, written by Joni Eareckson Tada, (JONI: Oh, come on) I’m, I’m serious. And while I love so many of your books – you know I think of, of course, the Joni book, I think of Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith (that one touched me so much) – but right now I’m re-reading When God Weeps.
JONI: Oh my goodness, that is not an easy read.
SHAUNA: Well, you know it isn’t, but it’s a needed read. Boy, it was probably 12 years ago when somebody handed me this book, When God Weeps, and boy, at that time, Joni, my youngest child was still a baby, Sarah—with Down syndrome, and her heart defect and all her other genetic abnormalities. And I spent most of my time weeping. And so the title alone (JONI: Yea) is what got me because I thought, ‘Boy, I’m walking around, crying all the time. What would make God weep?’
JONI: Yea, well you know, when I wrote that book, must have been over 20 years ago with Steve Estes (um, he was my spiritual mentor when I got out of the hospital); when I wrote it and people started reading it, some people put it down; they, they just couldn’t stomach it. (SHAUNA: Wow). But the people who really liked that book are the ones who have suffered greatly. They’re the ones who really “get;” they get the message of when God weeps.
SHAUNA: Boy, I can remember right where I was even sitting the first time I read it. I just gobbled it up.
JONI: Well, it’s, it’s about a subject that’s so tough for people to swallow. How do you reconcile the goodness and the sweetness of God, with the horror of evil and suffering that He permits in this world; even our own suffering.
SHAUNA: Early in the book you talk about how we do try to make sense of our suffering. And even in our good intentions of making sense of suffering, they can be self-centered. They can be “me” focused, like suffering helps me understand the Bible better. Or this trial is giving me a better character. Or even, um, God has used this difficult thing to improve my marriage. And in the book you say “Did you hear all the ‘I’s’?” (JONI: Yea, right.) God did too.
JONI: Sometimes we get so “me” focused about our suffering it’s like, what does it do to help my faith? Deepen my love for the Bible? Help my prayer life? And really suffering goes a lot further than just, just yourself, doesn’t it?
SHAUNA: Well, that’s right. Well, you know what you taught me through that book, and you through the book became my spiritual mentor, is that when we choose to trust God the problem of suffering is not about some “thing,” it’s about some “one”. It’s about knowing our Lord Jesus Christ and keeping our eye on him – not keeping our eye on suffering or even suffering’s benefits, but keeping our eye on Jesus.
JONI: You know I learned that truth many years ago from Elisabeth Elliot; her writings really touched me back then. You know, Shauna, her new collection of unpublished works was just compiled in a book called Suffering is Never for Nothing. You ought to put that next on your list, (SHAUNA: I sure will) for which I wrote the foreword I was so honored to do that. And you know we have both books When God Weeps and Suffering is Never for Nothing in our online store this month, so friend listening, if you would like to be caught reading this month, we’ve got lots of selections for you in our online store at joniandfriends.org.
© Joni and Friends
Featured Resources From Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope
Discover the secret to peace, joy, and hope in times of anxiety as the beloved author of Joni weaves contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence.The Practice of the Presence of Jesus offers wisdom from these two everyday saints, writing nearly four hundred years apart, that teaches you how to experience the nearness of God in your life. Through rich devotional content from Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God, and through original art and new meditations from Joni, you’ll encounter a unique weaving of past and present spiritual reflections on a God who never changes.As we recognize God with us moment by moment, our mundane becomes holy. Our pain becomes peace-filled. And our uncertainties fade into the greatest, most certain hope of all.