You may have read the story or seen the movie of Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman who because of a diving accident became a quadriplegic at the age of 17. As you can well imagine, when the accident happened she struggled. Since God is all-powerful, why hadn't He prevented the accident? Or, why didn't He heal her paralysis?
People would remind her that Romans 8:28 says God works all things together for good--a Bible verse often quoted to those in hard-to-explain circumstances. Sometimes the verse is a comfort, but often what the person needs at that particular time is not to know that good is going to come out of tragedy but that God is still there with them even through the pain--and that He cares.
Joni tells that while many prayed for her to be healed, she came to the realization that getting out of suffering is not the only solution. We paint ourselves into a corner when we insist that God must remove our suffering or we can never be happy again.
Joni says she has learned that attitude can make a tremendous difference in how a person copes with pain that just doesn’t go away. She writes, “A Christian may not be able to rule their life situation, but they can rule their hearts.”Joni’s life proves it is possible to have an attitude that brings happiness even in the middle of pain.
If you are undergoing suffering right now, pray this prayer: Lord, I want you to take away this pain I’m going through. But if You don’t, I’m determined to find happiness in You. I am determined that You, not circumstances, will be the source of my peace and joy.
Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes, When God Weeps (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997), 174.