Guest / Limited Access /
Suffering Servants
Courtesy of Joni & Friends
Suffering Servants

For at least a decade, the evangelical world knew of a woman who went simply by "Joni." Sixteen years after the diving accident that left her paralyzed, however, she married a high-school teacher, becoming Joni Eareckson Tada. As she faced a breast-cancer diagnosis and chronic pain on top of quadriplegia, her husband of over 30 years, Ken Tada, battled depression. Joni spoke with Sarah Pulliam Bailey, managing editor of Odyssey Networks, about the Tadas' book, Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story (Zondervan), which details how the "in sickness" part of Ken and Joni's vows has remained crucial in their marriage.

In the book, you write that "marriage only magnifies suffering." What do you mean by that?

Any marriage is going to have problems, but when you throw in a disability, it's like enlarging the problems tenfold. Disability forces problems to the surface. Suffering squeezes you like a lemon, and what comes out might be pretty bitter.

Marriage is a matter of making a sacrificial commitment. God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his own son because God wanted Abraham to see what real commitment looked like. I think that's why God tests us in marriage. Christians often imagine they have a solid marriage, but when our love is put to the test, our commitment becomes real. We're faced with the question, Am I going to love this man or woman for better or for worse? I don't know that our challenges are greater than they are for another couple. The sacrifices might be greater. But with sacrifice comes a great reward of a deepened faith and trust in each other.

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueA Pope for All Christians
Subscriber Access Only A Pope for All Christians
Why believers of all stripes should care about the new head of the Catholic Church.
RecommendedFighting with My Husband and the Work of Shalom
Fighting with My Husband and the Work of Shalom
Do I proclaim radical love for the world even as I neglect to care for those closest to me?
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
%%var.bookTitle%%
Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story
Zondervan
2013-03-24
192 pp., feeditem.price%%
Buy %%var.bookTitle%% from Amazon
Christianity Today
Suffering Servants
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.