Joni and Friends Blog

Crab to the Rescue!

“I thanked the Lord for being sovereign over not only great and mighty things, but over very small things, too.”

-Joni Eareckson Tada

I can only see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in my life, and sometimes that little fraction doesn’t make sense at all! It’s the way I felt on July 30th, 1967 when I dove into shallow water and broke my neck. After they rescued me, I laid paralyzed in the ER, wondering if I would be released in time for my college orientation that week – I thought I had only stunned my head and would soon be okay. Hours later, though, doctors told my family that my paralysis was permanent. They were stunned and totally dismayed.

But not my sister Kathy. She was the one who had rescued me from drowning that day. Kathy would tell the story, over and over, explaining, “Joni was face-down in the water and I was totally oblivious. My back was turned, and I didn’t even see her take that dive! But just then, a crab bit my toe, and I turned around to yell to her, ‘watch out for crabs!’ That’s when I knew she was in danger, and I came swimming fast to save her!” From the beginning, my sister was convinced that my rescue was a miracle of God (like, what are the odds of a crab biting someone’s toe at the very instant that person needs to be alerted of an emergency?!). Kathy kept insisting that God moved that crab into position to bite her toe, thereby grabbing her attention.

My sister was right. That day, God miraculously saved me from death-by-drowning. But it was only the beginning of the miracle.

That night, when they released me from the ER and rushed me to the Intensive Care Unit, I had no idea that my diving accident would set in motion a chain of events which would ultimately lead to joy for me, and a ministry to thousands of paralyzed people like me. God’s infinite wisdom saw a way to bring the greatest good out of that painful and complex situation, and no power was able to stop him from fulfilling his good plans.

Joni and Friends is part of that amazing plan, and I praise him that an innocuous little crab was part of his designs! The way I figure it, if God’s sovereignty is powerful enough to oversee the wanderings of a tiny sea creature, how much more does his sovereign will protect and defend the lives of those he died to save?!

And so, today on July 30th, Ken and I will mark the anniversary of that horrible, yet wonderful moment when God saved me from a watery grave… and used a crab to do it. We celebrated God’s good and sovereign plan with our annual crab-cake dinner, complete with corn-on-the-cob, applesauce, and freshly sliced tomatoes. And as we prayed a blessing over the meal, once again, I thanked the Lord for being sovereign over not only great and mighty things, but over very small things, too.

I also prayed that God will keep using Joni and Friends to save many more people with disabilities who are in danger, as I once was.

Like John Piper says, “God will be doing 10,000 things in your life that you cannot see. So, trust him. Love him. And all those things will turn out good for you.”

By the way, if you’d like to whip up your own dinner of yummy crab cakes, download my mother’s famous recipe!

–Joni Eareckson Tada

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