Joni shares about a time that she was sick with the flu and felt convicted by Hebrews 12:15.
Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Joni and Friends.
The flu season is upon us and I’m sure, even now, you’re hearing, “Make sure you get your flu shot!” I recall my absolute worst time with the flu. It was back when I was in the hospital years ago. I had just had surgery on my hips – that meant I had to lie face down for two weeks on a Stryker frame (that’s kind of a long, narrow, canvas frame that has an opening for your face so you can at least look at the floor). Anyway, at the very beginning of my two week stint of looking face down, in order to heal my surgery, I got the flu. Boy, did I get the flu!
Suddenly not being able to move and lying face down, paralyzed was peanuts compared to not being able to breathe, and I remember saying, “Lord, why? Haven’t I had enough? Isn’t this just a little too much for one person -- loading the flu on top of quadriplegia?”
Well, I knew the answer. Even in my headstrong stubbornness, I knew why. I really knew. Because you see, not long before that a friend had come to my hospital room and read to me out of the Bible. He read Hebrews 12:15, where it says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” I knew when he read that – I really knew – that there was a bitter root inside of me and it was causing a lot of trouble.
And lying there face down for 2 weeks with the flu paralyzed, I realized my bitterness was no longer a tiny trickle. It had become a raging torrent, out of control and I could no longer ignore it. While I was on that Stryker frame, it was as though God was holding my anger -- you know that bitterness inside. He was holding it up against my face and saying lovingly but firmly, “Joni, quit looking the other way. What you’re doing is ripping your soul apart. It’s sin. What are you going to do about it?” In other words, God was forcing me to make a decision. Either I was going to remain wallowing in self-pity there in that hospital...or I was going to put to death the bitterness, the malice, the anger...I would by the grace of God pull out the bitter root.
God has a way of doing that to us, every now and then, doesn’t He? He backs us into a corner with suffering; He forces us to decide whether or not we are going to follow Christ in a certain thing. He forces us to make a choice whether or not we want to be carried away in a flood of simmering anger, or, whether we want to take up our cross--meekly--and daily follow Him.
To make a long story short, I gave into God. I said, “God, I can’t live this way. Show me how to live.” And from that moment on – especially when several hospital aids would sit next to me with Vicks Vapor Rub and the fact that they were just there – I asked them to read the Bible to me...and lying face down, with the flu, healing that surgery, it made all the difference in the world. To smell that Vicks Vapor Rub and to hear the words of God, soon I got over the flu. And sometime thereafter, I got over the anger. I decided I did not want to miss the grace of God. And Friend, if you are struggling with a bitter root way down deep in your heart I don’t think you want to miss the grace of God either.
And once again, let me remind you of our website. Come by and visit us any time. It’s joniandfriends.org. God’s blessing on you until next time when we get together for Joni and Friends.
Previously aired as Program #6412 on 11/28/06.
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