Monday, May 21, 2007


I would like to share a devotional message from Joni Eareckson Tada. This is especially inspiring when you know that a 1967 diving accident left her a quadriplegic. I read several of her books last year (I had read "Joni" many years ago) and I was impressed and challenged by her attitude and her desire for Christ-likeness. There is a link on this page to the "Joni and Friends" website where you can subscribe to daily devotional messages from Joni. This was the message from May 12:

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory...” — 2 Corinthians 4:17 (KJV)

As a child, I was fascinated by the fairy tale about Rumpelstiltskin. The details are hazy, but I recall that he was an elfin sort of figure who was able to weave straw into gold. The color plate alongside the story in my old red fairy tale book showed a little man hunched over a spinning wheel, gold coins on one side, mounds of straw, on the other. I thought it would be wonderful to be able to do such a thing.

The fact is, we can. Your earthly problems are your pile of straw. On the other side of eternity in heaven is the treasure you are laying up. Problems on one side; gold on the other. In the middle is a kind of spinning wheel. That’s where you sit. If the problem-side seems overwhelming, then focus your eyes on the glory-side. When you do, you're a Rumpelstiltskin weaving straw into gold; like a divine spinning wheel, your affliction "worketh ... a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." It's as J. B. Phillips paraphrases, "These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain."
It's not merely that heaven will be wonderful in spite of our anguish; it will be wonderful because of it. Suffering serves us. A faithful response to affliction accrues a weight of glory. A bounteous reward. The more faithful to God we are in the midst of our pain, the more our reward and joy.
Whatever suffering you are going through this minute, your reaction to it affects the eternity you will enjoy. Heaven will be more heavenly to the degree that you have followed Christ on earth. "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

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