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How Joni Eareckson Tada’s Miraculous Story Continues to Inspire

Joni and Friends/YouTube

How Joni Eareckson Tada’s Miraculous Story Continues to Inspire

By Movieguide® Contributor

Writer and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada is looking back on her life and reflecting on the remarkable ways God is using her story to help others. 

“I wrote [memoir Joni] when I was in my 20s, and just eight years beyond my broken neck, my diving accident (in 1967). What did I know back then?” Tada told The Christian Post. “I look back and I think, ‘Why did I think I could write a book?’”

Joni, which has been translated into over 30 languages and made into a movie, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

According to the Movieguide® review:

JONI is an inspiring drama telling the real-life story of Joni Eareckson Tada. While diving into the Chesapeake Bay, Joni fractures her neck, paralyzing her from the neck down. Years of surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation follow. Though she prays earnestly, God doesn’t choose to heal her. Bitterness threatens to overtake Joni, but God begins to work in her life through friends, family and His Word. God leads Joni to realize that, although she might never know why God allowed her to become paralyzed, she can still find purpose in life by knowing Jesus Christ and ministering to others.

While the cinematography in JONI at times leaves something to be desired, the acting is excellent and emotionally engages the viewer. JONI shows a real, uplifting portrait of how to deal with suffering and pain and make the most of your life, no matter what the outcome. Joni’s treatment is intense. Also, the movie includes some scenes of unmarried romantic entanglements, plus Joni’s struggle with bitterness against God. So, JONI is not intended for younger children and warrants caution for older pre-teenagers.

To celebrate, Tada is releasing a special edition of the book that includes updated photos and a new afterword. 

As the Movieguide® Awards performer celebrates this milestone, she is also reflecting on the work she’s been able to do through her book. 

“I’m still overwhelmed when I think of the incredible numbers of people with disabilities, specifically, who have been strengthened by the insights I shared in that book,” she shared. “Then I think of how God has used that story to save many lives, I’m absolutely overwhelmed.”

“And honestly, with this 45th anniversary edition, my thought is, ‘Oh God, please don’t let me do anything now, this late in the game, to shame Your name. Let me finish well. Let me continue on this course. Let me not stain your good reputation,” she continued. “You just help me to steward well and to take care of the sphere of influence you’ve given me so that more people might come to know Christ through hardships, especially people who suffer, people who go through hard times.’”

Tada performed at the Movieguide® Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry in 2013.

“God’s power always shows up best in weakness,” Tada said before praying for the crowd at the Gala. 

“But isn’t it just like God to handpick the ill-equipped, untrained, non-skilled, non-professional to get a job done so that His power, the Bible says, shows up best in weakness. And, I think He is the one, God is the one, who has breathed such extraordinary life into the words that these gentlemen have written and the combination has made for a song that many, many people have been inspired by,” Tada said.

Tada’s health issues are ongoing; she’s beaten cancer twice and recently battled COVID-19. However, she always looks to God in moments when she feels overcome by the pain. 

“When I’m in pain, which is often, especially at night in bed when I can’t sleep … I talk to my pain and I say, ‘You’re not going to make me anxious, pain. You’re not going to make me fearful. I’m going to walk into you. I’m going to breathe, calmly, serenely. I’m going to enter you, pain. as though I were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego entering the fiery furnace, and I’m going to find Jesus, the Son of God, walking in the middle of the fire with me,” she said. 

“In the West, even we Christians, we don’t know what to do with suffering and pain,” Tada continued. “We try to drug it, medicate it, escape it, divorce it. If it’s a child with a disability, we institutionalize it. We do everything but learn how to live with it. And I don’t mean live with it begrudgingly, but live with it confident that a sovereign God has you in the midst of this for a good reason. And usually, most of those reasons are that we might cast ourselves wholly and completely on Christ Jesus.”

Even though many would look at Tada’s situation and despair, the writer sees herself as blessed. 

“You’re looking at a miracle,” she said. “I’ve been in this wheelchair for more than half a century; 55 years paralyzed without use of my hands or legs, and I cannot get over how healthy I am. I’m in pain; make no mistake, it’s hard. … Many of my good quadriplegic friends are struggling, which of course, when I hear their struggles and speak with them and pray with them, they’re bedridden, many of them, I just double down my efforts to make a difference, not only in their lives, but in the lives of the people we serve at the ministry. If I’m blessed, I got to pass on the blessing. I cannot hoard it.”

“I’m privileged in a way; I have extraordinarily good health,” Tada continued. “But that just re-energizes me to squeeze every ounce of ministry effort that I possibly can out of this quadriplegic body to make life better for the world’s disability populations.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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