A wonderful lady named Rosa taught me the hard way that God does not promise to physically heal just because you ask. Healing is an extraordinary miracle which cannot be reduced to an everyday occurrence. However, God does promise and is always ready to offer… healing comfort. Paul wrote: “God is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us.” (2 Co. 1:3)
God may not always provide healing which is why they are called miracles. But God will always provide healing comfort. I vowed to never again forget the real “healing touch” belonged to God.
But wait, Paul has more: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (4) Not only are we promised comfort but somehow we are meant to share the comfort we receive with others.
A diving accident as a teenager left Joni Eareckson Tada totally paralyzed from the neck down. During the early years following the accident, Joni was griped with the dull lonely ache of total despair. She writes in her book, Joni: “Here I was, trapped in this canvas cocoon. I couldn’t move anything except my head. Physically, I was little more than a corpse. I had no hope of ever walking again. I could never lead a normal life… I had absolutely no idea of how I could find purpose or meaning in just existing day after day – waking, eating, watching TV, sleeping.”
Joni begged God for healing… but didn’t get it.
Then she begged God to let her die… no way.
Instead, God provided healing comfort. Joni wrote: “I’m alive. I can at least still feel in my neck and tops of my shoulders. I can see the moon through the hospital window. My friends are coming to see me and the doughnuts they bring taste good. And like holding on to a thin kite string, I have hope that it might get better. I see it in the eyes and smiles of my family, my friends and a few of the nurses. Oh, and one more positive thing – they might find a cure for spinal cord injury!”
“You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” (5) God provided comfort for Joni Eareckson Tada and then provided a ministry…
Through God’s help she began the process of learning to live with her disability. As a part of her therapy she took up painting by holding a brush in her mouth. She discovered her artwork was quite good and provided a unique opportunity to appear before groups and share how God helped her successfully cope with her disability. Speaking soon led to writing devotions. After writing her autobiography, Joni received thousands of letters. To better respond to the needs and questions, Joni formed a Christian organization “Joni and Friends” dedicated to extending the love of Christ to people who are affected by disability. Now, Joni has literally touched lives all over the world.
“So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.” (6) Few have suffered more than Joni Eareckson Tada yet even fewer have achieved the world wide impact of helping so many through her inspiring life.
In her latest book: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith,” Joni writes: “When a person is suddenly disadvantaged – whether through disability, death or deep disappointment – a new element is introduced. The hero has become hobbled, so he or she has much less chance of winning. No one would blame the story’s hero if he gave up. But if he overcomes in spite of the odds and by the grace God, well… that’s what makes the story powerful, important and truly worth reading.”
“We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.” (7) Joni has certainly suffered but she has also received and shared God’s blessed and healing comfort.