Joni and Friends Blog
It Is Written
I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I love that God takes up our cause.
I felt it happen the other night. It was around 1 AM and I could not get back to sleep because of all the pain in my hip – because of my paralysis, I cannot turn in bed to make myself more comfortable (once my husband tucks the pillows this way and that, and I’m up on my side, it’s pretty much it until I call him early in the morning to readjust me). So, that sets the stage, okay? But this night this was different. The pain was unusual, and I woke up earlier than I was supposed to. I looked at the time projected up on my ceiling (1 AM) oh, and I groaned. I had hours to go before my normal turn time, and I did not want to wake Ken up again. But as much as I tried to get back to sleep, it was impossible. Anxiety started piling on top of my pain which only made things feel all the more claustrophobic being paralyzed in bed.
But I know what to do during those mad midnight moments. I asked the Holy Spirit, I said, “Jesus, Spirit of Jesus, take up my cause, come shoulder to shoulder next to me so we could do battle together.” Because I know if I’m tempted to cave in to fear or anxiety, dreadful thoughts like ‘what if my pain gets worse’, I’ve got to look at Jesus, I’ve got to remember the example He gave when He was tempted. Three times He went into battle against the devil, and three times He used three simple words: “It is written.” Charles Spurgeon once said that, “With that ‘sword of the Spirit’ in our hands, our cause becomes that of the Holy Spirit Himself, and we shall be as superior in strength to our adversary, as the Spirit of God is to the spirit of darkness.” So, that night as I was lying awake, I felt the Holy Spirit come shoulder to shoulder next to me ready to do battle. And together we fought those anxious feelings. Just as I had hoped, the Holy Spirit brought to mind every promise from God’s word that I could possibly recall, ones I had memorized. From Psalm 46, I said, “it is written…” God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” And then, from Philippians Chapter 4, it is written…” I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” And then from first Corinthians Chapter 10, it is written…”God will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” And then again, from 2nd Corinthians Chapter 12, it is written that God’s grace is sufficient for me. And from Nehemiah Chapter 4, it is written that God is going to fight for me. And then from Psalm 20, it is written that the Lord gives victory to his anointed.
What more could I want in the middle of the night? And with the Holy Spirit bringing to mind all those verses, it was like he was in my fox hole handing me ammunition, round after round, bullet after bullet to fire at the enemy. And by what 1:30, 2 o’clock in the morning, it was clear the devil was giving up the contest. The word of God is the weapon that Satan dreads the most. You know, I didn’t develop this habit of memorizing God’s Word myself. I was first challenged, years ago, by Elisabeth Elliot when we spoke together at a conference. She understood suffering and she knew the power of God’s Word to defeat discouragement. So, I wrote the foreword for her new book Suffering is Never for Nothing and we’ve got it in our online store at joniandfriends.org. So, visit us, would you, and find out more at joniandfriends.org. And, oh by the way, I was able to get back to sleep after 2 o’clock in the morning all because the Word of God was sufficient and the same is true for you. The Word that was sufficient for Jesus is sufficient for you as well.
© Joni and Friends
Hard times come for all in life, with no real explanation. When we walk through suffering, it has the potential to devastate and destroy, or to be the gateway to gratitude and joy. Elisabeth Elliot was no stranger to suffering. It was in her deepest suffering that she learned the deepest lessons about God.