My birthday was in February and unknown to me my brother had sent an email to the Joni and Friends organisation (http://www.joniandfriends.org/), asking if they could send me a birthday greeting and encouragement. I didn’t hear from them on the requested date, but I received the following email from Joni a few weeks later – which came as a nice surprise. I thought that you might like to read what Joni had to say and I hope that you too will be encouraged by her comments -
Your brother Tim recently contacted us at Joni and Friends to let us know of your upcoming birthday and also some of the struggles you’ve recently been facing.
God has a way of always pressing us up against our limitations in order to refine us further. For me it may be through a chronic pain, a flat tire on my wheelchair, or the stab of someone’s pity. For you in your limitations, it is probably different. But God allows both of us to go through painful times so we might rely all the more on His grace. Paul talks about that in II Corinthians 1:9, “…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…”
Let me encourage you that God can and will use you even in your present circumstances. Perhaps your greatest opportunity will be to pray — for others around you, your family and friends, current events and spiritual change. With the help of your church you might organize a prayer chain. Let your pastor know you want to be kept informed of prayer needs within the congregation and then commit your time and energy to prayer. And then be prepared for great things to happen!
Hazel, we pray that as you celebrate your xxth birthday, you will be encouraged today from II Cor. 4: 16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Yours in His care,
Joni Eareckson Tada.