Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Joni

Joni. Joni Eareckson Tada. 1976. 224 pages.

The hot July sun was setting low in the west and gave the waters of Chesapeake Bay a warm red glow. The water was murky, and as my body broke the surface in a dive, its cold cleanness doused my skin.

I am so glad I decided to read this autobiography. The edition I read is actually a three-in-one called Joni Eareckson Tada: Her Story. It collects three of her autobiographies into one edition. The other two books (which I haven't read yet, but will hopefully some day) are A Step Further and Choices Changes.

The book begins with her memory of the diving accident that changed her life forever. And I must admit it's off to a great start. The beginning is quite compelling--in those horrible moments when she's in the water and unable to move. Of course, readers know that she was found in time. But still those minutes feel very tense--or maybe intense is the right word?
After briefly describing her home life, her family, readers journey with her through her extended stay at the hospital. Those dark days of uncertainty and depression. The days when she did not know--could not know--what the future held for her. The days when doctors and nurses weren't exactly reassuring her that her life would soon return to normal. For after that diving accident, Joni has to discover a new normal. And that is something that is never easy to do. Joni's story is inspiring and compelling and relevant. The lessons she comes to learn through her experiences. The truths she learn about God, about faith and hope and love, the truths she learns about what it means to serve Jesus, the truths she learns about relationships--these are truths that I need, that you need, which is one reason why I think you should read this book for yourself. It's just so good.

I was angry that my life had been reduced to the basics of eating, breathing, and sleeping--day in and day out. But what I discovered was that the rest of the human race was in the same boat. Their lives revolved around the same meaningless cycle--except with them, it wasn't as obvious. Peripheral things distracted them from the fact that they were caught on the same treadmill. (60)

I told Diana of my thoughts. "Nothing is really making any sense yet, Diana. I don't know what God is doing--but I believe He is real and that somehow He knows--and understands. There's a positive aspect to my thoughts now. I'm still confused, but before, my confusion leaned toward doubt. Now it leans toward trust."

"Maybe it has something to do with your prayer before the accident," Diana suggested.

"What prayer?"

"Remember? You told me that shortly before your accident, you prayed, "Lord, do something in my life to change me and turn me around." Maybe this is God's way of answering that prayer." (60)

We aren't always responsible for the circumstances in which we find ourselves. However, we are responsible for the way we respond to them. We can give up in depression and suicidal despair. Or, we can look to a sovereign God who has everything under control, who can use the experiences for our ultimate good by transforming us to the image of Christ. (101)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: