Somehow, some way, God was in control. Heaven and Hell participated in the exact same event when Christ died on that cross. Heaven and Hell participated in the exact same event but for different reasons. Now, no doubt, Satan had his reasons. The devil wanted to put an end to this ridiculous talk about redemption. Stop God’s son dead in his tracks. No more talk about reconciliation, no more talk about atonement. Kill Christ. That was Satan’s motive. But you see, the wonderful thing about God is that He’s a miracle worker and God is in the business of reaching down and, with otherwise seems to be awful horrid evil, He wrenches out of it positive good for us and glory for Himself. God can do that because He’s God.
God always aborts devilish schemes to accomplish His own ends and His own purposes. That’s what he did at the Cross. The world’s worst murder became the world’s only salvation. In Satan’s most daring attempt to frustrate the plan of God, he ended up slitting his own throat because God aborted those devilish schemes at the Cross. What was God’s motive in the Crucifixion? What was His purpose and will? That through the cross, the floodgates of heaven would be open wide. That whosoever will, might come in. Heaven and Hell participated in the exact same event but for different reasons.
Steve closed his Bible at my bedside and didn’t say much after that. He let the message sink in. It didn’t take long for me to understand the parallel between what happened at the cross of Christ and my own disability. I began to see that in the accident in which I became paralyzed, Heaven and Hell were participating in the exact same event, but for different reasons. When I took that reckless dive into shallow water that caused me to be a quadriplegic, no doubt , the devil absolutely wrung his hands in delight, thinking to himself, “Aha, I have now shipwrecked this girl’s faith. I have dashed her hopes. I have ruined her family. I have destroyed her dreams and I am going to make a mockery of all her beliefs in God. That, I’m certain, was the devil’s motive. Remember we have an all wise, all powerful, all loving God who reaches down, and when otherwise would be horrible evil, and wrenches out of it positive good for us and glory for Himself. I am convinced that God’s motive, God’s purpose, His plan in the accident in which I became paralyzed, His purpose was to turn a head strong stubborn rebellious kid into a young woman who would reflect something of patience, something of endurance, something of longsuffering. Who would get her life values turned from wrong side down to right side up and would have a buoyant and lively optimistic hope of heavenly glories above.
I wouldn’t dare list 16 good biblical reasons as to why this accident happened to me. No I wouldn’t dare do that because suffering is still a mystery.. I can’t explain it all and my friend Steve couldn’t explain it all by my bedside either. It’s a mystery but not a mystery without direction. We know for one thing in this mystery ,nobody is glorifying suffering. God does not think this that a spinal cord injury is a great idea. There is no inherent goodness in cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, brain injury, stroke, heart disease, manic depression, No, No, No!. There is no inherent goodness in disease or disability, but like I said, God can reach down to an otherwise would seem like a terrible difficulty and wrench out of it positive good for us and glory for Himself. There is no inherent goodness in disability, disease, or deformity but we are promised in the book of Romans the 8th chapter the 28th verse that all things can fit together into a pattern, a plan for good, our good and His Glory.
I remember when my friend Steve shared that verse with me as well, and I challenged him saying,”That sounds to me that you’re saying, there, that all things are good.” He said, “No, Joni, that’s not what the verse says. It doesn’t say that all things are good. It just says that all things can fit together into a pattern for good, a plan for good.
What is that good? I can’t speak for you. I really can’t, and I would never take my experience and lay it like a template over your life and say this is the way God ought to work in your life. No, No, no, it doesn’t work that way. We’re all individuals, we’re all significant, we’re all unique, and God’s plan for each one of us is so personal, so highly personal.
I would like to share with you the good, that I believe, has come out of my disability. I would like to tell you God’s motive in having permitted my accident to happen. For one thing, my life values have gotten turned from wrong side down to right side up.There was a time when I used to think that man’s cheap end for happiness was to have a date on Friday night and to be a slim trim 135 lbs, a size 12 dress, a college degree, a nice little home in suburbia with a white picket fence with Ethan Allen furniture, and 2.5 children. That’s what I used to think was important in life. After my accident, those life values, that were so wrong side down, got turned right side up and I began to see that what really mattered in life were friendships. What really mattered in life was love, warm and deep and real and personal, between a husband and a wife, or a sister, or a brother, or a aunt, or a niece, or a nephew, or a neighbor, or a nurse, or an attendant. I began to see that it was people who counted. And smiles and tears and embraces, these things began to count so much in my life.
I remember that my hospital bed was situated near a window in the ward that I shared with 6 other women and I used to thank God that I could see the moon at night and that my room was situated near a tree so I could watch the leaves blow in the wind. Little things, small things, began to matter. Looking straight on into the eyes of another person in a wheelchair and sensing their pain, being moved by their tears, feeling the rhythm of their heart, sharing oneness in the spirit, like experiences. These are the things that began to matter to me.
But other things began to matter to me as well. God used this injury to develop in me patience and endurance and tolerance and self-control and steadfastness and sensitivity and love and joy. Those things didn’t matter much when I was on my feet but, boy, they began to matter after I began living life in a wheelchair. I began to see that this is what made me a truly peaceful person. This is what real beauty was all about. This is what purpose in life involved. Being made somebody special, somebody significant, way down deep on the inside and beginning to share that with smiles and encouragement to others.
Also, I began to get a buoyant, lively hope of heavenly glories above. In other words this wheelchair help me see that the good things in this life aren’t the best things. There are better things yet to come. The good things in this life are only omens and foreshadowing of more glorious, grand, great things to burst on the scene when we walk into the other side of eternity. For one thing, the Bible assures us that we’re going to have new bodies. First Corinthians, chapter 15, read it sometime for some encouragement. We learn there that one day we will have new hands, new legs that will walk, new hearts, new minds.