God is love, and the wish of love is to drench with delight those who’ve stepped into the fellowship of sharing in His Son’s suffering. And soon, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are going to get their wish. Perhaps sooner than we think, God will close the curtain on sin, suffering, disease, and death, and we will step under a veritable Niagara Falls of thunderous joy.
The Father is gathering an inheritance who will join Him in the river of joy that is Heaven. He is Heaven-bent on gathering glad souls who will make it their eternal ambition to worship His Son in the joy of the Holy Spirit.
I may have suffered with Christ on earth, but one day in Heaven I’m going to reign with Him. I may have tasted the pains of living on this planet, but one day I’m going to eat from the tree of life in the eternal pleasure of Heaven. There we will feel utterly at home, as though it were always this way, as though we were born for such a place — and we were!
I know it’s not theologically correct, but I could take my wheelchair up to Jesus, hold His nail-pierced hands, and say, “Jesus, see this wheelchair? You were right when You said that in this world we would have trouble. This wheelchair was a lot of trouble. But the weaker I was in it, the harder I leaned on You. And the harder I leaned on You, the stronger I discovered You to be. Thank You for giving me this bruising-of-a-blessing. My wheelchair showed me a side of Your grace that I never would have seen otherwise.”
Then the real ticker-tape parade of praise will begin. And all of earth’s redeemed will join in the party. Christ will open up our eyes to the great fountain of joy in His heart for us that is beyond all that we ever experienced on earth. And when we’re able to stop laughing and crying, the Lord Jesus will wipe away our tears.
I find it so poignant that at the point when I finally do have the use of my arms to wipe away my own tears, I won’t even have to. God will wipe them away for me. And He will do the same for you.
Joni Eareckson Tada is the founder of Joni and Friends International Disability Center and an international advocate for people with disabilities. A diving accident in 1967 left Joni, then 17, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. She founded Joni and Friends in 1979 to provide Christ-centered programs to special-needs families, as well as training to churches. Learn more at joniandfriends.org.
Taken from the Beyond Suffering Bible, © Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission of Joni and Friends and Tyndale Publishers.