Joni Eareckson Tada is a beautiful example of “power made manifest in weakness” ( see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Her book, written along with her pastor, Steve Estes, is a powerful book that covers the issue of God’s purposes in allowing suffering into our lives. Her book is called, When God Weeps: Why our sufferings matter to the Almighty.
Scripture passages she mentions along with some of her comments. I will make some comments also.
Jesus asked the paralyzed man, “do you want to get well?” Joni said, “Yes!” come over here to the hard cases!” (in the healing meetings)
Joni tells about her going to Kathryn Khulman healing meetings. She was a famous “faith healer” in the decades before Benny Hinn.
God did not heal her physically, even though she desparately wanted healing. I think it is very cruel of the “Word of Faith”/Prosperity teachers to say, after a person does not get healed, “Then it is your fault, you didn’t have enough faith!” That is one of the cruelest teachings that is very prevelant among Charismatics and Pentecostals.
Benny Hinn has been clearly exposed as a fraud and false teacher and false prophet. He carries no credibility, even though at times he says good things and sometimes explains a simple gospel message correctly.
Joni confesses a bitter spirit and complaining attitude. When she read Mark 1 (see below), she realized that she was treating Jesus as a “way to get her problems solved rather than for His own sake and His own glory”.
Mark 1:32-39 – “for this is what I came for” – to preach the gospel
32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And Hehealed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37 they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
“I asked for a deeper healing . . . ”
“Search me O God, and know my heart, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”
Suffering sand-blasts us and sanctifies us; leaving our souls raw and exposed; in order to cause us to cling to Him for His sakes and His glory, and the communion with Him, who suffered unjustly at the cross, is a deep joy that no one can describe in words.
“that I may know Him, and the fellowship of His sufferings” Philippians 3:10
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, that you should follow in His footsteps.” 1 Peter 2:21
She describes deeper needs for healing in her heart – the deeper attitudes that need to be repented of and healed . . .
“pray for me to not manipulate my husband with precisely timed phrases”
1 Peter 4:1
“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,”
Philippians 2:14 – “do everything without complaining”
With tears streaming down my face . . . “O Jesus!, thank you for a “no” answer to a request for physical healing; You really knew what you were doing; because a “no” answer has purged so much sin out of my heart and life; so much selfishness and bitterness . . . ”
“that’s the deeper healing . . . healing of sin begin uprooted out of the heart
Are you just coming to Jesus to get your problems fixed?
He will use anything and everything that stands in the way of His fellowship with you.
Let God make you and mold you to be transformed from one degree of glory to another.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
God’s great purpose in allowing suffering into our lives is for Him to get glory by our being conformed to the image and character of His Son, Jesus Christ:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Romans 8:28-29