Need some encouragement? Let me tell you about my friend, Daniel.
Hi there, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and thanks so much for spending these couple of minutes with me because I just have to tell you the story of this amazing young man. You know, to look at Daniel is to look at a tall handsome college kid with chiseled features, a great smile and a winsome personality. This guy is the image of the Brooks Brothers Ivy League, Lacrosse playing, happy Christian young guy on campus. That’s the way Daniel comes across. At least that’s the way he would come across to most people if he weren’t disabled because some years ago Daniel suffered an accident on the operating table… lack of oxygen to his brain left him virtually unable to walk and unable to speak (at least in a way that most people would understand). So Daniel sits in a wheelchair now, struggling to finish out his last year of college… his mother and father serving as his voice as he makes sounds and motions with his lips. The guy is amazing and looking at Daniel, you can see how handsome this young man was and is, in many ways.
Daniel and I are email buddies – we encourage each other. Not long ago I wrote Daniel and asked him to pray; it was when I was struggling with chemotherapy back then and feeling a little down. Listen to what he wrote me back. He said, “Joni, please hang in there ‘cause I understand your discouragement. We were in Boston this weekend and my dad took me to Harvard University to see it and to get some shirts. While it was fun, it was also very discouraging. I think, in my mind now, that I would have loved to have gone to Harvard to study medicine or law. Who knows if I really would have, but I think about it sometimes. But the fact that I could NOT go there now makes me think even more that I would have liked to. Joni, just had to get my mind off the subject and think of something else. So I had to move on [I have to keep pressing on with where God's put me]. So I am praying for you. Just keep your eyes on Jesus, Joni --just like Peter did (that is until he sank, ha ha!) But you and I are NOT going to sink. We are going to get through this life--until heaven, and I will be praying for you.”
Wow! You know the book of Hebrews says encourage one another daily, and that’s pretty much what Daniel and I do all the time. This kid really knows scripture and he’s always sending me a special word from the Bible to help me get my focus where it needs to be. But I do the same for him – in fact, recently I sent him “Bible Promises for Hope and Courage,” it’s a little 12 page booklet that catalogs some of the most powerful verses about encouragement and courage and I know it’s really inspired this kid in his last semester of college, and I think this booklet would refresh your heart, too. And, hey, you can get your free copy by visiting me today on my radio page at joniandfriends.org. Okay? That’s joniandfriends.org.
Oh, and before I go, let me read to you what Daniel wrote at the bottom of his email. He said, “I love you, Joni, so never give up ("This too shall pass" - my mom always says)! And you know what, she’s right! Your friend, Daniel.” And Daniel is right. Time and again I’ve been in the toughest situations only to find the next day that the discouragement has dissipated -- for it came to pass… I left the problems behind and persevered in the strength of God's Word. Oh, friend, if you’re struggling today, remember that this too shall pass… so persevere … as Daniel says: “Never give up.” When you know Christ, life is one big “never give up.” Thank you, Daniel, for the reminder. And don’t forget, please remember to visit me today at joniandfriends.org.
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