Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope

Joni Eareckson Tada

You are a Garden

January 25, 2019
00:00 4:00

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I love a beautiful garden.

Like my sister Jay’s garden back on the Maryland farm. On many days I would sit by the farmhouse window that overlooked her vegetable and flower gardens. She had cordoned off two different plots from our pasture! The vegetable garden was large and there she would be, raking and tilling rows of zucchini, butternut lettuce, tomatoes and silver queen corn (my favorite). Jay Kay took pride in her rows of vegetables – as well as the long, straight lines of marigolds in between the veggies to keep the bugs away. Even those rows were neat and tidy. It was so fascinating to watch my sister tend to her garden – she worked hard to keep away invaders like bugs, varmints, weeds, thorns and dandelions and rabbits.

When I lived on the farm and my sister, Jay and I would read the Bible together and she resonated with scriptures that spoke about gardens, like Song of Solomon Chapter 5, verse one, God (as the gardener) calls us His garden. He says, “Come into my garden, my lover, my bride.” Well, we also gleaned from Charles Spurgeon a few thoughts on what it means to be “God’s garden”. We are a lovely, set apart and reserved plot that He has purchased. We are His, and we can learn a valuable gardening lesson or two from that, given that a garden is not a wild and unruly wilderness. No, it is separate from what grows wild. It’s protected, it’s fenced in, it’s something somebody owns, a gardener claims it, and like any garden, God really works it and protects it, or I should say, He works us and protects us, rakes and tills us to produce something good in this world of weeds of our lives. And as the garden, we need to respect that, because although we may be in this world, we are not of it. God did not purchase us to be wild and unruly. No, when we make compromises, trying to edge as close to the world’s ways as we possibly can without becoming tainted (we think). Grace dries up, it stays low, it diminishes. Grace doesn’t flow easily and liberally. God’s not going to waste time watering the weeds and thorns in your life, oh, no. He has no intention of encouraging your compromised ways; if anything, He roots those things out. To God, a garden is a place that reflects His design, His intention, it’s a place of beauty where good and lovely things grow. And so, as His word says, “We should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” And growth can be rapid when you yield to God and His rake.

And as much as the Bible talks about rest, how we are to rest in Christ, enter God’s Sabbath rest? Well, resting in Him is quite a theme in Scripture, and so a garden is a place of rest. It’s a place of retirement. I want my life, my heart to be reserved for Jesus. As most of you know, I’ve got to get out of my wheelchair early, shortly after dinner and that’s the time I lie flat in bed, just communing with the Lord, praying to Him or singing, quoting back to Him words of Scripture or a hymn. Ah, what rest, rest for me, and rest with my Savior, the gardener of all things good. I gleaned all these thoughts from Charles Spurgeon, a devotional that he had written. And you know what, we’re into winter right now, and maybe you are already planning a garden for next spring. If so, make it personal. Learn the lessons. Draw the parallel to your own life. You are God’s garden, purchased and owned by Him; you are the garden intended to grow and produce good things, beautiful things, to be free of thorns, and most of all, to be that wonderful place of rest for communing with the Lord Jesus.

© 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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