On a hot July afternoon in 1967 Joni’s life would change. Joni and her sister went swimming on the Chesapeake bay. She climbed onto a raft anchored off shore, stood on the edge and jumped into the water. The water was merky and she hadn’t checked the depth. She hit her head on something hard, her neck snapped back, and she felt a strange electric shock in her back. Joni became a quadriplegic on that hot July afternoon.
Joni fell into a deep depression, she became angry with God, asking “why”, “am I being punished”, ” did I do something wrong”. Friends and family prayed around the clock. She spent a year in the hospital, and angry. However, soon she began to feel a difference in her feelings, thoughts and attitude. She began asking “why” with a searching heart.
In her booklet Hope ……..The best of Things (2008, Crossway Books). Joni says ” the weaker I was in that thing [my wheel chair] the harder I leaned on you, and the harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. it never would have happened had you not given me the brusing of the blessing that wheelchair”.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)
So many things popped out at me, such as ” suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope never, ever, ever, disappoints us”.
Romans 8:18 I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (NIV)
We live in a fallen world. disabilities, handicaps etc, is a symptom of original sin, when evil entered the world. Sin entered due to mans disobedience to God, and so came along sickness and imperfections.
Romans 8: 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ jesus our Lord.
Through God and her unfailing, faithful love for him, Joni exudes hope, joy, and encouragement to others, both near and far. Joni is the founder and CEO of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center. Permission from joniandfriends.org was given to me to share this amazing woman with you.
Please stay tuned for my soon to come post about the Joni and Friends organization.