Suffering Prepares Us

  • Oct. 9, 2018
  • #9507

Earthly things cannot satisfy, and often disappoint in many ways. Living with suffering make us long for our true home in heaven.

Suffering makes us want to go to heaven, and that might be a good thing.

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and you know how it is—broken homes, broken hearts, all these things crush our illusions that earth can ever keep its promises. Only the hope of heaven can truly move our passions off of this world—which God knows could never fulfill us anyway—and place those passions where they will find their glorious fulfillment, in heaven. When I was on my feet it would have been nice had I focused on heaven purely for Christ’s sake, but forget that. I was healthy, athletic, distracted, and not the type to get hyped about heaven. Who wants to think about heaven when you’ve got things to do and places to go? Besides, you have to die in order to get there. I did not want to think about that at the age of seventeen. That’s the nature of the human beast, at least this beast. Some people have to break their necks in order to get their hearts focused on heavenly glories above, and I happen to be one of them. It was only after the permanency of my paralysis sank in, that heaven began to really interest me.

When you come to know that the hopes you have cherished on earth will never come true, that your loved one is gone from this life forever; that you will never be as pretty or as successful or as famous as you once hoped you would be, your sights are lifted. You long and look forward to the day when your hopes will be fulfilled and heartache will vanish. You realize that, once and for all, earth can never meet your deepest longings. My hope of running through earthly meadows and splashing my feet in a stream will never come true on this side of eternity, but it will in the new heavens and new earth. My dream of hugging a loved one and actually feeling my husband’s embrace will never come true down here on earth, but it will when we stand before Jesus.

You can appreciate this, especially if earth has broken your heart. You may be a mother who has lost her child in an accident, or a son who has lost his father to cancer, or a husband whose wife has passed on to glory. These dear ones you love take with them a part of your heart that nothing, no one can replace. And since the pursuit of heaven is an occupation of the heart anyway, don’t be surprised if you find yourself longing for heaven after you leave the grave-side. If your heart is with your loved ones, and they are home with the Lord, then heaven is home for you as well.

A broken heart leads to the true contentment of asking less of this life because you know full well more is coming in the next. The art of living with suffering is the art of readjusting your expectations in the here and now. There are simply some things I will never have because of this wheelchair and so I love Psalm 73:25–26 says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And being with you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, [in other words, I may suffer] but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Oh friend, suffering hurries the heart homeward.

Now I talk about this and much more in my newly revised book “Heaven...Your Real Home.” It’s being released this October and I'm celebrating by inviting you to visit joniradio.org to receive your gift of a packet of my heaven tracts – perfect to give to a hurting friend or tuck into a letter. So don’t forget to visit joniradio.org where you’ll also learn more details about my new book “Heaven...Your Real Home. And please don’t forget today, your disappointments on earth have a way of lifting your sights toward heaven. And you don’t even have to break your neck to experience it.

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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