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Hope in Lamentations with Joni Eareckson Tada (Part 4 of 4)
By Nathan Jones
In a recent episode of Christ in Prophecy, we interviewed one of the living heroines of the Christian faith, Joni Eareckson Tada. She is the founder of the ministry Joni & Friends which brings the Gospel and care to those who are challenged with disabilities.
Joni’s life changed in an instant when she dove into the Chesapeake Bay and broke her neck. At the tender age of 17, she became a quadriplegic. Refusing to wallow in despair, she overcame unexpected adversity to serve as an example of how to live by faith through extreme suffering. In Part 1, Joni shared her testimony. In this fourth and final part, she will identify some of the end times signs that point to the soon return of Jesus Christ.
Signs of the End Times
Nathan Jones: Concerning the signs of the end times that point to the soon return of Jesus Christ, there are negative signs of the end times as well as positive signs. Joni, what signs do you see in our society that indicate that we are getting closer to the return of Jesus Christ?
Joni Eareckson Tada: Since the first advent of Jesus Christ that ushered in the quote, “the end of the age,” we have been living in those last days for the past 2,000 years. We are now living in the last days.
Matthew 24:12 shares a couple of signs of the times that I am really seeing. First, Matthew 24:12 says that in the end times there will be an increase in wickedness. Did you know that the twentieth century, which was just 20-some-odd years ago, was the bloodiest century in recorded history? With World War I, the pogroms of Stalin, the Nazi Holocaust, World War II, and other wars, the world has never experienced anything quite as vicious as the twentieth century.
So, here we are now living in the twenty-first century, and I think we are seeing an increase in wickedness. Matthew 24 adds that the love of most will grow cold. These are the signs.
I challenge all of us not to let your love for the Lord Jesus Christ to grow cold. The way that you can keep it from growing cold is to make certain that everything you believe in is put into practice, not just for yourself, but for the advancement of Christ’s Gospel among your neighbors, co-workers, college students, friends, and associates. Tomorrow morning get dressed, take a shower, go out the front door, and find somebody who needs “Gospel help.” Administer it through your prayers and through your hands. Practice Christianity with your sleeves rolled up and ready to go for the saving of many lives. Just like our good friend, Joseph, in the Old Testament, be prepared for hard times.
Tim Moore: Joni, how can people connect and partner with you to become one of Joni’s friends?
Joni Eareckson Tada: Joni & Friends as a ministry exists for the sole purpose of giving this Gospel that I just described to people with disabilities from all around the world. In fact, even as I speak, we are working with our in-country partners in Ukraine to get people with disabilities out of that country and into safe havens in Germany, Poland, and Romania.
So, if people want to be a part of this valiant effort to give the Gospel to people with disabilities from all around the world, they can connect with us at joniandfriends.org. Click on our videos and see what we are doing. Come volunteer at any one of our family retreats. We always need good people to help.
And, you can pray for our work. Of course, people need to pray because if people don’t pray nothing of any eternal good is going to happen, so we need people praying. And, of course, we always welcome financial supporters.
Tim Moore: We do pray God’s continued blessing on you, on Joni & Friends, and on all of the lives you impact around the world.
Exploring a book called Lamentations can be heavy. With so many people suffering and anxious about so many things, it is not our intention to focus on sadness. Rather, Joni, you demonstrate that joy is not what we experience in this life, or in the circumstances we endure. Rather, it is what fills our hearts to overflowing when we are in the center of God’s will.
Nathan Jones: Key verses from the book of Lamentations reflect the span of human emotion that Jeremiah’s lament captured so wonderfully. For instance, in Lamentations 2:11, Jeremiah describes the heartbreak of witnessing the destruction of Jerusalem as God’s judgment fell on His rebellious people. We all share in that heartbreak as soon as we recognize that God’s wrath will be kindled against our nation, and every person, who is rebelling against Him today.
Tim Moore: Jeremiah possessed an unshakeable faith. Because he knew the Lord and trusted in His faithfulness, his hope in the Lord’s lovingkindness and compassion never wavered.
Nathan Jones: Jeremiah resigned himself to wait upon the Lord, silently anticipating the salvation He has promised. We, too, are waiting patiently, anticipating the arrival of our great God and Savior.
Tim Moore: Joni, you are an exemplar of hope. Your joy in the Lord is infectious, inspiring everyone who comes into contact with you. No matter the circumstances, you are enduring.
Nathan Jones: And, no matter the challenges one faces, if the Lord is your portion, your hope in Him is assured. Place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ today and you will gain “tough hope.”