Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bad Things, Good People


What are we supposed to do when life as we want it to be is no longer possible? How do we respond when bad – very bad – things happen to good people?

There are lots of examples around us. One reminder hangs on my bedroom wall.  Has for years. It doesn’t ‘go’ with my choice of colors, more orange than I would have chosen. But I’ll keep it always. Leaves and a butterfly against  the sky, stretching upward from a fence post. Simple, until we look closely at the intricate brush strokes, paint selections and the fine lines that draw your eye and you appreciate the work of the artist.  Then, we’re told that her neck was broken in a diving accident at seventeen. She’s a paraplegic.

Not inspirational enough? Try this – she’s also a renown author, not just writing about disability, but about her faith in Jesus Christ. Forty-eight books, at last count, but I doubt she is finished sharing. She is the center of Joni and Friends.

How can we possibly compare our daily frustrations, along with a strong lack of patience (no, I haven’t been peeking  in your windows, I’ve taken a look in the mirror) with Joni’s accomplishments?

She could have wrapped herself in bitterness and depression – many do. She could have shut herself away from a world that worships red carpet runways and celebrity status – many do. She could have become a political activist, the ‘poster child’ for a segment of our society – many do.

Instead, she chose to help us all through Christ’s redeeming love. She has been blessed, and she is a blessing. In my opinion, her ministries (yes, many more than one!), embody this statement from her beliefs:

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

On our own, we fail. Even with the Holy Spirit indwelling, we are able to quench His work within us.

Quench not the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

Let me also state that I do not see that God caused the accident in order to use Joni’s life as an example. I do see His work through her life in spite of the accident because she turned to Him.

Christ’s example of parents’ love for their children in Matthew 7 is summed in God’s love for His children:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11)

When you look at Joni’s sites, at her biography, at her life’s work, can you see the fulfillment of His promise:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Our abundant life with God will be different from Joni’s and it will be eternal. Without God – it will be without abundance and, eventually, without life.

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