Fifty years ago today, Joni Eareckson Tada‘s life changed forever as the result of a diving accident at the age of 17 that left her a quadriplegic. And while many know her powerful story of discovering Christ and becoming a talented painter despite her injuries, she’s now sharing the 10 most powerful words that changed her life.
In a piece for The Gospel Coalition, “Reflections on the 50th anniversary of my diving accident,” Joni talks about coming to Christ as well as embracing her circumstances. Circumstances that to many would produce a lifetime of despair. But 10 words from a friend would offer encouragement and become, as she says, “life-changing”: “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.”
She explains how she came about them:
Back in the ’70s, my Bible study friend Steve Estes shared ten little words that set the course for my life: “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” Steve explained it this way: “Joni, God allows all sorts of things he doesn’t approve of. God hated the torture, injustice, and treason that led to the crucifixion. Yet he permitted it so that the world’s worst murder could become the world’s only salvation. In the same way, God hates spinal cord injury, yet he permitted it for the sake of Christ in you—as well as in others. Like Joseph when he told his brothers, ‘God intended [my suffering] for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’” (Gen. 50:20).
“Now, every day when I wheel into the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, I try to squeeze every ounce of ministry effort from my quadriplegic body,” she writes.
The perspective has inspired millions through her numerous books and radio program, “Joni and Friends.”
Reflect on that as you think about the own hardships you have gone through or may be going through now. And read all of Joni’s powerful perspective here.