Paralyzed Praise: A Conversation with Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada was injured in a diving accident at age seventeen and has been confined to a wheelchair for the last forty-five years. If you’re not familiar with Joni’s story, I’d encourage you to read more about her life and ministry at

One of my personal highlights from True Woman ’12 was watching Nancy Leigh DeMoss interview Joni. And today I have the privilege of introducing the video release of this inspiring breakout session.

In it, Nancy and Joni’s conversation is both hilarious and insightful. One particularly meaningful moment for me was when Joni mentioned that she has come to a place in life where she no longer looks back on what used to be but instead looks ahead to what will be. She is looking toward heaven . . . toward eternity.

I think Joni, because of her physical limitations, has probably spent more time thinking heavenward than many of us. She speaks of being in heaven with her new, resurrected body and lying face down on the ground before her Savior in “paralyzed praise.” What an amazing picture of worship and submission to the Lord.

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Heaven is what we have to look forward to if we have surrendered ourselves to God, if we want His way.” Joni is a woman who has surrendered herself to God. She has surrendered her physical state to Him. She wants His way.

But I must admit in my earthly, finite mind, I think, I hope Jesus doesn’t leave her in that position for long. I hope He lifts her to her feet and says, “Joni, praise Me while you run. Lie in the grass and feel the warmth of My presence. Paint a picture for Me with perfectly restored hands. Sing Me a song with a voice even more beautiful and strong.”

Any of us who have followed Joni’s story would relish the idea of enjoying a moment like that with her, but I think we will be preoccupied. Like Joni, our focus will be on Someone else. We, too, will be free from our physical limitations. We, too, will be released from the sin that entangles us. We will join Joni in the worship and praise of our Lord with our whole beings.

Joni has a way of shifting my attention. She reminds me to focus, not on what was or even on what is, but on what will be. She directs my gaze to the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Ps. 16:11)

About the Author

Carrie Ward

Carrie Ward

Carrie Ward is just an "ordinary" mom with a heart for her husband, children, and her extraordinary God. Although she was a longtime follower of Jesus and an active church member, Carrie always struggled with reading the Bible daily. But … read more …

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