When I first came to Christ, I underlined today’s Scripture verse in my high school Bible: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (NIV). And I meant it—or at least as much as I was able to mean it. At that time, the verse translated like this: “I’ll stick up for you, Jesus, if someone sneers at my Christianity. And I’ll stick to moral standards when I’m with my boyfriend.” (Yes, and how long did that last?) But then I broke my neck, and Paul’s words meant more than I had ever imagined.

Paul ate, drank, and slept eternal life in Christ. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, and the life of his life. I couldn’t have said those things before I suffered, but my quadriplegia utterly threw me into the arms of my Savior. Suffering does that. So today, don’t despise it. It can help you to say, “For me, to live is Christ”—and you will truly mean it.

Joni Eareckson Tada is a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and the founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center. Taken from A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada. Copyright © 2016 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.