• Jan. 21, 2010
  • #7234

Do your memories help you look into the future?

Hi there, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and you know what, my sweetest memories do that.  They really do, they help me look to the future!  I've got some great memories that make me look toward what's to come; they really inspire hope.  Funny thing is, many of these memories are from times when I was on my feet, long before the accident in which I broke my neck.  Oh my, I look back and I can recall the memory of that neat grating sensation of a nail file against the tips of my fingers, and I recall the sound of my nails tapping cool, ivory piano keys.  I can still "feel" my fingers plucking the nylon strings on my old guitar, or my hands holding the reins as I rode horseback, and touching the soft fuzz on a peach.  Even though it's been so many decades, I can still recall the feeling of gripping my hockey stick as I ran out on the playing field; I can remember digging my thumb under an orange skin and peeling it.

You know, I think it's interesting that so many of these fondest memories have to do with my hands.  I'm looking at my paralyzed hands right now.  They're not very pretty - the muscles have all atrophied and my fingers are curled and rigid.  I wear leather hand splints so that when I do move my arms, my hands don't flop around and get in the way.  I love it when my husband, Ken, holds my hand.  Sometimes when we're wheeling around a shopping mall, I'll hold my arm out, kind of a signal to him to grab my hand.  I can't feel it, but I sure like seeing his hand covering mine.

Now, why would memories like these make me look to the future; why would they inspire hope?  Well, they remind me of something very hopeful:  that one day soon I will have new hands.  I'll have glorified fingers that will work and feel again, touch and pluck and pick and grab, scrub and dig.  Hands that will embrace loved ones.  And the first thing I'm going to do is reach for the hand of Jesus - and, oh, how wonderful it will be to touch and feel the nail prints in His hands; I will touch those scars that purchased my freedom and a home in heaven.  Oh my! 

And then the next thing I'll do (I think) is reach for Ken's new, glorified hand and give it a real hard squeeze just to see what it feels like.  Friend, all this is going to happen; it really will!  God promises me in Jeremiah 29, He says, "For I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Wow.  My best memories help give that hopeful future "shape." 

So let me ask, what are your favorite memories?  Maybe time with a loved one you lost to cancer or a car accident?  Time when you were younger and more athletic and active?  Favorite times with best friends who have now moved away?  Well, don't let these memories just make you feel wistful and nostalgic, only longing for the past and what was once true; let your favorite memories be your handhold on heaven.  Let them pull you forward.  Use those memories to help you look forward to when God will wipe away every tear; forward to the time when you'll be reunited not only with Jesus, but all your loved ones; let those memories pull you into the future, into that wonderful time when sorrow and sighing will be no more, and hallelujah, joy is gonna overtake us all.  I can't wait.

So until next time on "Joni and Friends", let me remind you that you can help yourself through your present difficulties by remembering something out of your past that's pleasant.  Let God use it to strengthen your hope in your heavenly future. 

©  Joni and Friends

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