Perhaps one of the first Christian “celebrities” that I ever heard of was Joni Eareckson Tada. She has an amazing story and has accomplished much more than many people without a disability.
However, early in my Christian walk I was involved in a number of Pentecostal churches. While this is not indicative of all (or even most) Pentecostals, there were some that were critical Joni. There was some confusion as to why she just didn’t ask God to heal her. Sure, she had done some great ministry, but God would be much more glorified if she was supernaturally healed. I didn’t know what to think.
Many years later, my theology has developed significantly. This is both through study of the Bible and life circumstances. We have two children with severe autism. Not long after their diagnoses, we had close friends express frustration to us as to why we didn’t just ask God to heal them and be done with it. All we had to do was ask. The truth is that I have asked many time. While we have seen God move in amazing lives in our children’s lives, they have not been healed.
What does this have to do with Joni’s book, A Place of Healing? Much of this book is a reflection on healing, disability and suffering. While it has many years since Joni’s accident and she has come to terms with being a quadriplegic, she now suffers from chronic pain. The question of healing is once more on the table.
This book was lent to me and it sat on a shelf for a while. Although I didn’t fully know what the book was about, it was a timely read because of my own health. I started reading this book after a flare-up of sarcoidosis which includes significant pain. While my pain is nothing compared to what Joni has gone through, reading this book meant a lot.
What I like about this book is that it balances both biblical truth and real life experience. Joni’s writing is neither purely theoretical no experiential. This book is at the cross roads of the gospel and life as it really is.
I really appreciated A Place of Healing, both as one who experiences pain and as a father of two children with disabilities. I found the book to be both inspiring and encouraging. I can see how it would disappoint some people. Life would be less messy if we just asked and were healed every time. But Jesus never claimed that following him would not be messy.