Joni Eareckson Tada might be one of the greatest voices the church has today. Her perspective on suffering is incredible. She’s been a paraplegic most of her life and was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. One of the truths God showed her a few years ago has been a tremendous encouragement to me. She calls it “splash-overs of hell,” and “splash-overs of heaven.” Read the following quote from her and be blessed:
“I had breast cancer and one day when I was coming home from chemo, my husband Ken and I were talking about “splash-overs” of hell. I’ve always said that suffering is like a little splash-over of hell, reminding us of what Christ rescued us from—like a tiny taste of what life could be like for all of eternity, were it not for God’s graciousness. So we started talking about what splash-overs of heaven are; the places or times when there’s no suffering and life is breezy and things are going our way . . . but then we decided nope, splashovers of heaven are not that. They’re not the mountaintop experiences. Splash-overs of heaven are when you find Jesus in the splash-over of hell. It was so encouraging to suddenly feel that powerful little insight take root in my heart. So instead of trying to be so quick to escape pain—even as I keep praying for change—I’ve been learning to be quick to sit and wait and see what satisfaction the Lord will give. I know that yielding to Him and patiently waiting on Him is winning me “an eternal glory that far outweighs [it] all” (2 Cor. 4:17 niv). When I stick with Him in “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10), I’m increasing my capacity for joy and worship and service, and that draws me closer to Jesus. It gives such meaning to the pain.”
That is some powerful stuff. Here is my interpretation of what she was saying…splash-overs of heaven on earth are not always God delivering you from your “hell,” but rather, Him coming to you in your “hell” and carrying you through it! This is what I am currently experiencing. God has come to me in my darkest moment and said, “I am here. I am with you. Others will forsake you and abandon you. I will never leave you or forsake and I will see you through.” Praise be unto God that we serve such a gracious and compassionate God who abounds in mercy and love! Thank you Jesus for coming to me in my hell and waking with me through it all! I realize this is just a splash-over, and one day I will experience the fullness of deliverance when you bring me into Your presence, just as You did Trey! I love you Lord!!!