Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Joni prays, but still in pain...

This is not a new book. Copyright date is 2010, but it is such an important book, I cannot skip by it. Many of you will remember Joni Eareckson Tada and her diving accident, which is now old news. It happened in the 1960s and she has survived to this point though still a quadriplegic---more than 40 years in a wheelchair! Joni has spoken to thousands of groups, written many books, started and continues to manage an organization that began as Joni and Friends, and now includes the International Disability Center, located in California.

Joni has strong faith in the Lord and his ability to heal and she knows the Bible stories to prove it. She prays often for herself and others who need and want healing, but so far it hasn't happened for her. In her new book, A Place of Healing, there are also two subtitles: Wrestling with the Mystery of Suffering, and Pain and God's Sovereignty. Published by David C. Cook, those subtitles will give you hints of what she is going to write. First, quadriplegics cannot wrestle, can they, and second, what does sovereignty mean anyway?  Joni knows the answers and she tells them, using Bible stories and the stories of people she knows and their struggles with pain, and especially her own struggles over the last five years when she has dealt with increasingly unbearable pain. Yes, this book is about pain, but once you start reading it you won't be able to stop until you read the last page. 

As you read through the book and learn more about the challenges and the happenings she has been going through, there is news of a new challenge and what it means for Joni and husband Ken Tada. Then, she remembers her growing up years in the Reformed Episcopal Church back east, and she picks up the BCP and finds the Psalter reading for the day. It's about kneeling, Psalm 95:6. And Joni cannot kneel. It says "Kneel before the Lord, your maker...." so she asks the reader to kneel for her. And she writes: "while you are down there, if you feel so inclined, thank Him for being so good to a paralyzed woman named Joni." It's an amazing, scary, comforting, leaning on Jesus book. Read it...

---Lois Sibley,