24 in Twenty-Ten: Scripture Memory Verse #13

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed I have a beautiful inheritance!”

Psalm 16:6

Precious friends,

I learned earlier this week some news that many of you may have already been aware of: Joni Eareckson Tada, founder of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, sister in Christ, friend and partner in the gospel, was diagnosed with breast cancer last week.  Joni had surgery this past Monday and is recovering quite well.

If you are familiar with Joni and her amazing life and ministry then you are most likely aware that she is a quadriplegic; the result of a diving accident in 1967 when she was only 17 years old.  John and I had the great pleasure and privilege to meet Joni and her husband, Ken Tada, 3 years ago.  Not only is she profoundly wise and authentic, but she is the one person I can say that I “know” who is without a doubt as totally filled with and functioning through the Holy Spirit as anyone I’ve ever met or heard about in my life.

What you probably do not know is that almost one year ago to the day, I received the most precious, personal letter from Joni, along with a gift, to encourage me and let me know that she’d learned of my breast cancer diagnosis and was praying for me!

Stunning, to say the least.

When I heard the news last week, I was in disbelief and found myself saying, “No, Lord, this just can’t be!”  But as soon as that prayer crossed my heart I heard the Lord say in my spirit, “She has been faithful with a few things; I will now put her in charge of many things!”

Just that morning I had been studying the Parable of the Talents from Matthew’s gospel in which 3 servants were entrusted by their master to care for his property in his absence and were each given a sum of money (talent), each according to his ability.  Upon his return, the master praises the servants who’d invested the money well, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21).

This is not a verse you’d typically associate with a breast cancer diagnosis for a quadriplegic woman.  Unless you understand that what the Lord entrusts us with on this earth, is not limited to material wealth.

When I look at Joni Tada’s life I see a woman who was entrusted with quadriplegia and invested it well; very, very well.  And now the Lord, in His permissive will, has entrusted her with more.  If I know the kind of woman Joni is, then I know she is looking at this as yet another “opportunity” to advance the gospel, witness to and encourage others, and glorify Almighty God.  To that end, read her own words on her web page: http://www.joniandfriends.org/jonis-corner/special-message-joni/

In the summer of 2008 the Lord opened my eyes to the principle of “spiritual inheritance” through the teaching and study of several passages of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, but primarily in the words of King David as he penned his affirmation of God’s promise of his spiritual inheritance in Psalm 16, my memory verse for July 1st:

“LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

Psalm 16:5-6 (HCSB)

Those words both thrilled me and haunted me as I meditated on them and contemplated the “boundary lines” of my life falling in “pleasant places” securing for me a “delightful inheritance.”  Imagine my astonishment when almost 8 months later I received a breast cancer diagnosis.  Not what I would consider to be one of the most “pleasant places” the boundary lines of my life could have fallen.  But almost immediately after I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer, the Lord delivered that Word to me again as one of the cornerstone verses for my “adventure” in breast cancer, and taught me the true meaning and purpose of my spiritual inheritance and how He intended for me to use it to the max.

Yes, I can say with every bit of sincerity that the boundary lines have indeed fallen for me in pleasant places. Hard stuff, yes, but pleasant places developed from that hard stuff and it has made for one beautiful inheritance.

It doesn’t matter what has happened in your life; your painful past, your failures, your challenges, all of it… sanctified and redeemed in the hands of your Savior it’s all a part of your spiritual inheritance, and it is THE thing the Lord has entrusted you with to bring purpose and ministry to your life, to encourage others, and to bring glory to His name.  He’s entrusted “it” to you; do it well… use it for His glory!

I know that Joni would echo these same sentiments, even now: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed I have a beautiful inheritance!”

Please keep sweet Joni in your prayers as she continues recovering from her surgery and undergoes further treatment; praying always for her health, her ministry, and that she will use well this new gift the Lord has entrusted her with!

Pressing on in Him,