Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Place of Healing - Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni’s swan song?

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain and God’s Sovereignty
Author: Joni Eareckson Tada
Publisher: David C. Cook
Pages: 214

In A Place of Healing, Joni Eareckson Tada writes “in the midst of my experience, in the violence of a firefight, in the crush of circumstances, and in the vice grip of unrelenting pain,” which brings an immediacy to the entire book.

As hard as it is to live for more than 40 years as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, Joni had become somewhat acclimated to it all. This book chronicles her agonizing battle with a season of unrelenting pain. This is prior to her more recent breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, which continues to this day.

Joni’s season of suffering, which she details in these pages, leads her to revisit questions about healing, suffering and God’s sovereignty. Having been exposed to popular and theological views on healing over the course of years, I found this to be one of the best and most balanced presentations that I have ever read.

There are repeated references and quotations from the book Miraculous Healing by Henry Frost, which has profoundly shaped her views. She articulates wisdom from this source and her own experience.

Regardless of where one falls on the theological spectrum, this is a valuable work that deserves a place in any theological library. The greatest value though will be to those who are personally wrestling with these issues. It’s biographical, transparent, winsome, encouraging and practical.

By the end, Joni is thanking God for her wheelchair. If God had healed her after her accident in 1967, none of her subsequent ministry (speaking, writing, broadcasting, singing, distributing wheelchairs, painting, etc.) would be in existence today.

One of the most moving chapters is filled with stories of people around the world who have received wheelchairs through Joni’s Wheels for the World ministry. It’s easy to see the hand of God in these accounts.

It’s a little hard reading about how much Joni has been suffering, but that is not the focus. She writes to bring glory to God and give hope to others. She is like a bird singing in the dark, waiting for the break of dawn. Her eyes are forward-looking, and she takes readers with her.

If she never writes another book, this is a fitting swan song.
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