Songs of Suffering : 25 Hymns and Devotions for Weary Souls By Joni Eareckson Tada
When I was a little girl, I distinctly remember cozying up on the pullout couch with my mom as we watched Joni on the television set. From her biographical 1970s movie to her TBN interviews, I was hooked. Even as a child, I found myself strangely enthralled by the way Joni articulated her words into stories. Her words were just as beautiful as the joy emanating from her face. She literally radiated Christ.
I remember asking my mom why Joni was so joyful. She was in a wheelchair and couldn’t move from the shoulders down. How could she possibly have anything that would make her smile? My mom pulled me close as my little face gazed questionably at hers and simply answered, “Well, honey, she has Jesus. Jesus gives her all the joy she needs.” As a child, I couldn’t grasp how that was possible. However, I remained drawn to Joni and her message of steadfast faith, wooed by her honest and fierce faith. Even in the midst of suffering, God is still good.
Songs of Suffering – Christ is Strength In Affliction
“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:1-2
In her book, Songs of Suffering : 25 Hymns and Devotions for Weary Souls, Joni Eareckson Tada unpacks the beauty and truths of 25 timeless hymns that gave her strength when she felt tempted to despair. Through a diving accident just after her high school graduation in 1967, young diver Joni became paralyzed from the shoulder down. The doctors permanently diagnosed her with quadriplegia.
Joni honestly shares many of her feelings from the past few decades, recounting her physical, emotional, and spiritual turmoil. However, shares how she firmly held to Scripture, even singing aloud on her bed unto the Lord.
Sanctification in Suffering
Throughout her book, Joni sprinkles the message of sanctification in the midst of suffering. She uses examples of others who allow their season of suffering to mature them and press them into the image of Christ. Using certain hymns as her literary of remembrance, Joni invites readers to press deeper into worship in the midst of suffering. Pressing into the worship of Almighty God grants us unshakeable peace that we “may not be moved” by our physical distress.
Suffering Does Not Failure
It’s important to understand that suffering does not equal failure or punishment. There are many people today who God has entrusted with affliction. Much like these people, Joni has allowed God to use her suffering for His glory. She views her imitation of Christ in her affliction as a beautiful aroma to God.
If you’d like to learn more about Joni Eareckson Tada, her ministry, and her book, you can find more here: Songs of Suffering : 25 Hymns and Devotions for Weary Souls.