Joni and Friends Blog
Not so Easy Grace
Often when God gives grace, it’s not the grace we expect.
And it’s often not the grace we want from God or even that we like. Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada, and I am a seasoned pro when it comes to asking God for his grace. And I should be. With my disability and chronic pain, I am constantly running to God for help. “Please, Jesus, hear my cry; I need your grace, and I need it badly. I can’t do this; I need your help now!” Now the casual observer might think, “Oh, sure, I get it. Joni is asking for relief from her pain and problems. She’s asking God for healing, for him to make things better; for him to bring release and freedom from all the difficulties. That’s what God’s grace does, right?”
Well, I hate to disappoint that person, but that’s not why God dispenses his grace. Oh, sure, there are times when the grace of God provides for a miraculous healing or a wonderful change in a difficult situation. This is what we expect when we ask God for help; when God removes the pain or heals the disease, it is clear evidence of his love and wisdom and kindness, right? And we praise him when he transforms our circumstances and brings relief and release. But that’s not his rule of thumb. When we first gave our lives to Jesus, it was clear from the beginning – or it should have been – that our lives would not be easier. Rather, God’s Word teaches us that struggles are part of God’s plan for us. The kind of struggles and disappointments that happen when you daily pick up your cross and follow Jesus down the blood-stained road to Calvary. Suffering is designed by God to transform us, and the grace which God gives is grace that doesn’t most often change our painful circumstances. No, it is grace that changes us; it’s grace that transforms us; grace that enables us to trust God through the thick and thin of every pain and problem.
So when you ask for grace, and your pain does not go away, do not think that God has failed you. No, what’s the old saying? God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good. Well, friend, he’s good to you as he gives you courage. He’s good when he gives you endurance. And he’s good when he gives you patience and perseverance and bravery in the face of every painful trial. And it is this same courage and endurance and perseverance which ultimately makes you like Jesus. You become like Jesus when you face your problems in the same manner in which Christ faced his problems. You are like Christ when you daily pick up your cross with the same yielded, brave attitude that Jesus showed when he heaved his cross on his shoulder. It is for this that God gives grace. Yes, it is a hard grace. It is uncomfortable grace. Grace that is never easy, but it is enabling in every trial and distress.
Oh, friend, this is the way to pray for someone who’s suffering. Sure, prayers for healing are in order, but there is a higher, more exalted way to pray for your hurting loved one. And there are plenty of Scriptures you can use to pray for courage, for perseverance and endurance; or to pray for hard and uncomfortable grace. So visit joniradio.org today because I want to give you my friend Nancy Guthrie’s incredible new book – I love this – it’s called “I’m Praying for You: 40 Days of Praying the Bible for Someone Who is Suffering.” Supplies are limited, so let me hear from you today. The book “I’m Praying for You” is filled with such wise counsel on how to pray for someone who’s really hurting. And how to use Scripture in your prayer for that person. So be sure to visit joniradio.org today.
© Joni and Friends
A Step Further continues the autobiography of Joni. Here, we read more of her personal journey into suffering and what she’s discovered along the way. She not only catalogs her bouts with depression and discouragement, but highlights how God used circumstances, individuals, and events to shape her and reveal Himself to her. Joni’s warm and compassionate sharing of herself makes this a precious book.