Home > Uncategorized > Joni Eareckson Tada: Suffering Helps Me See Heaven

I used to wonder why Paul calls hardships “light and momentary.” Years of affliction opened my eyes to his insight.

“File this, Francie, and make copies of this letter, would you,” I said to my secretary without looking up from my desk. “And,” I sighed, “would you please pull out the sofa bed one more time?”

“Are you serious? Again?”

“Again,” I said.

For the fourth time that day, I needed to be lifted out of my wheelchair and laid down. Then I had to undress to readjust my corset. Shallow breathing, sweating, and a skyrocketing blood pressure signaled that something was pinching or bruising my paralyzed body. As my secretary tissued away my tears and unfolded my office sofa bed, I stared vacantly at the ceiling. “I want to quit this,” I mumbled.

Francie shook her head and grinned. As she gathered the pile of letters off my desk and got ready to leave, she paused and leaned against the door. “I bet you can’t wait for heaven. You know, like Paul said, ‘We groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling’” (2 Cor. 5:2).

My eyes dampened again, but this time they were tears of relief. “Yeah, it’ll be great.”

In that moment, I sat and dreamed what I’ve dreamed of a thousand times: the hope of heaven. I recited 1 Corinthians 15 (“The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable”), mentally rehearsed a flood of other promises, and fixed the eyes of my heart on future divine fulfillments. That was all I needed. I opened my eyes and said out loud, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

This experience often occurs two or three times a week. Physical affliction and emotional pain are, frankly, part of my daily routine. But these hardships are God’s way of helping me to get my mind on the …

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