Joni’s 70th Birthday Celebration

– Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada. Have you ever looked around and wondered, How did I get here? How’d this happen? Well it’s how I feel turning 70 years old. Did I say that? Actually I did. If you had told me back in the late 60’s when I became paralyzed
in that diving accident, that I would live to the
age of 70, oh my goodness, my doctors would’ve laughed at you. Because I’m living way
beyond the statistics and you know what? I am living well. I’m living joyfully. Yes, a broken neck is a tragedy, but God has the capacity, get this, to look at our suffering
through a narrow lens and a wide angle one. When God looks at a painful
event through a narrow lens, like my broken neck, He sees
the tragedy for what it is and He is deeply grieved. I mean, God felt the sting
in his chest when I dove into shallow water and crunched my neck and severed my spinal cord. But when God looked at it
through his wide-angle lens, He saw the tragedy in relation to everything
leading up to it, as well as flowing out of it. He saw Joni and Friends. He saw Family Retreats and
He saw “Wheels for the World” and “Warrior Getaways”. He saw “Marriage Getaways”. He saw hundreds of thousands
of people with disabilities and their families coming to Jesus Christ. He saw this amazing mosaic
stretching into eternity. And friend, it’s this
mosaic with all its parts, both good and evil, which
brings God utter delight. And so, as I turn 70, I’m saying NO to a narrow view of my life. Uh-uh, I’m not gonna do
down that dark grim path. And I encourage you to do the same. Say with me, “Jesus,
give me faith to believe “in your wide-angle view
of the difficult things “that happen in my life.” Give me your perspective so I can delight in the beautiful mosaic that
one day I’m gonna understand. Would you please celebrate that with me? Let’s encourage each other. Strengthen each other with
this view on suffering. And celebrate my birthday! Make sure that beautiful
mosaic continues to spread to many more special needs
families around the world. Make my day by donating to my birthday. And as you do, let’s see what God does with that marvelous mosaic
in this next decade. Thank you! God bless you and thanks for
wishing me a happy birthday. (gentle music)

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