I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.
–Exodus 14:4

If we designed our own road maps, we would always take the easiest route in life, but that is not God’s plan for us.

Just ask Joni Eareckson Tada. If you had asked 17-year-old Joni how she would design her life’s road map, she might have plotted out a future as a professional athlete. That is, until one summer day, while swimming with friends, she misjudged the depth of the lake and dove in–breaking her neck and becoming paralyzed from the neck down.

Joni’s friend Steve came to visit her in the hospital. Joni cornered him with the same desperate question we all ask when we are in an impossible situation: “Why did this happen? How could an all-loving and all-powerful God allow this?” Steve wisely responded, “Joni, I don’t know why and how. But when it comes to the question of who is in control, I can show you some answers.”

Joni reflected on the perspective God gave her at that moment as Steve sat by her hospital bed:

He opened up his Bible and he pointed me to the example of Jesus Christ. He told me that in the life of Christ I could find the answers about God’s will. He showed me Christ on the cross and he challenged me: “Joni, whose will do you think the cross was?” Well, I obediently remembered all those good Sunday school lessons I had learned growing up and I easily voiced in response, “God’s will, of course; it’s God’s will.” . . .

He let the message sink in. It didn’t take long for me to understand the parallel between what happened at the cross of Christ and my own disability. . . . When I took that reckless dive into shallow water that caused me to be a quadriplegic, no doubt, the devil wrung his hands in delight, thinking to himself, “Aha, I have now shipwrecked this girl’s faith. I have dashed her hopes. I have ruined her family. I have destroyed her dreams and I am going to make a mockery of all her belief in God.” That, I’m certain, was the devil’s motive. But we have an all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God who reaches down, and when otherwise would be horrible evil, and wrenches out of it positive good for us and glory for Himself.

Joni’s life-altering accident that summer day was certainly not what she would have plotted on her life’s road map. But now she says about her Red Sea moment, “I wouldn’t change my life for anything. . . . I’m really thankful [God] did something to get my attention and change me.”

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Seizing Your Red Sea Moment” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2005.

Joni Eareckson Tada, speech at Biola University, September 19, 2007, http://joniearecksontadastory.com; Joni Eareckson Tada, “Joni: An Unforgettable Story,” 25th anniversary ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 188.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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