The Vision Online Staff Writer
As a teenage girl Joni Eareckson Tada grew up enjoying horseback riding, hiking and swimming. Unfortunately, the course of her life changed at the age of 17 on one of her swimming trips when she dove into shallow water. The accident caused her to become a quadriplegic, a person who experiences the partial or total loss of use of all the limbs and torso.
After becoming quadriplegic, Tada encountered many difficult circumstances in life that challenged her nearly to a breaking point. She struggled with not being able to get out of bed, shower, or get herself changed for the day without the assistance of someone else.
Yet God worked on Tada’s heart despite all her questions and depression throughout this time, transforming her biggest goal in life to being able to use the opportunity God had given her to make a difference in the lives of those surrounding her.
Because of her willing heart to serve God, Tada has been able to go around the world telling her story to all age groups with similar and different struggles . As a result, she has become not only publicly recognized but influential as well.
A key point Tada shared with students during chapel on September 5 is for them to not “look for the next high or charge as if Jesus was a battery dock for an iPhone” but encouraged them to always stay connected.
She stated, “The Bible says Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. There is no disconnect. We should look at suffering as a chance to stay connected as a branch.”
Tada’s said her biggest fear with this immense recognition is that she will make the focus about herself. She strives to be mindful not to think more of herself than she ought, but to humble herself, making less of her and more of God.
A final comment Tada made was if she had the ability to change one thing in society, she would want to show them how God’s priorities are so different than theirs.
“Society is so focused and enamored on things that are big, bright, beautiful and the best. They understand richer and stronger when they need to realize poverty and weakness,” she said.
Looking back over her life , she said she wouldn't choose to change anything about it, except earlier on she would have taken studying God’s word more seriously.
“In essence, the Christian life is so simple. Believe. It’s remaining close to Jesus throughout life’s difficulties that’s not easy,” she said.