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How Joni Eareckson Tada Sees God Use Tragedy to ‘Produce Something Good’

Photo from Joni and Friends on Instagram

How Joni Eareckson Tada Sees God Use Tragedy to ‘Produce Something Good’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Author and radio host Joni Eareckson Tada opened up about how she has seen God work through her tragic spinal cord accident and quadriplegia.

“I guess I was the least likely candidate to become a quadriplegic. But I went for a swim in the Chesapeake Bay with my sister,” she told Kirk Cameron. “I dove into shallow water, and my head hit a sandy bottom. It snapped my head back and crunched my vertebrae. Snapped my spinal cord, and I was lying face down in the water, paralyzed, and the next thing I knew, my sister was pulling me up out of the water. I was gasping, sputtering, near drowning, and doctors told me, ‘You’ve broken your neck. You’re never going to walk again or have use of your hands.’ My hands don’t work. I wear arm splints to support them.”

The accident left Tada angry with God, but she eventually began to see his plan for her life through the tragedy.

“That was 55 years ago, and I have to confess, Kirk, I thought God was being awfully unfair,” she revealed. “But over time, Christians were praying, Christians were loving me, and slowly but surely, I came up out of depression, and I began to ask people why should I trust God if he allowed this to happen.”

“God permits what he hates to accomplish something that he loves, and yes, he hated the torture, the murder, the treason and the injustice that led up to the crucifixion, but the world’s worst murder became the world’s only salvation,” she continued.

Ultimately, God “despises the pain and the anguish, but he will allow it to produce something good in your life,” Tada explained, referencing Romans 8:28, which reads, “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.”

No matter what tragedy or trial we may face here on earth, God will use it to shape us and deepen our relationship with Him. That is the hope we have in Jesus.

Since her accident, Tada founded the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, which focuses on “reaching and serving people with disabilities with practical help and the saving love of Jesus.”

“God never intended that we should suffer alone, that we should suffer for nothing,” she explained. “This is why spiritual community is so important to a person who has undergone a catastrophic injury or illness — his family and the church keep him connected to reality, help ascribe positive meaning to his pain, bring him out of social isolation, and point him to the One who holds all the answers in His hand.”

Movieguide® previously reported:

Joni Eareckson Tada explained how one decision changed her life and how becoming paralyzed helped her see the Lord and live out a mission for His glory…

“I was heading off the college. This couldn’t be happening. No, this isn’t happening,” Tada recalled thinking. “When the doctor’s words slowly sank in, I became numb with disbelief. And with that, bitterness began to take root.”

“I hissed at heaven, saying, ‘God, I can’t live like this. I will not live like this,’” she continued. “Now, I knew that I could not take my life physically and so I was tempted to end it emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I told my mother to pull my bedroom drapes, turn off the lights and shut the door. And there in the darkness I laid in bed for weeks.”

Thankfully for Tada, God is gracious, and all it takes for Him to move is faith the size of a mustard seed.

“Behind that closed door, my self-pity literally became suffocating. I mean, the dark, morbid thoughts were worse than my paralysis. And so somewhere along the line, into the dark, I whimpered, ‘God, if I cannot die, then please show me how to live,’” she said. “I was the most feeble, fainthearted prayer I had ever offered up, but it’s all it took.”

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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.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.