I don’t usually do book reviews on Sunday, but I wanted to get this in before the end of the year for those who are considering a devotional book for next year.
Joni Eareckson Tada explains that the title for A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining Through Me Every Day comes from a quote of John Newton’s:
Some Christians are called to endure a disproportionate amount of suffering. Such Christians are a spectacle of grace to the church, like flaming bushes unconsumed, and cause us to ask, like Moses: ‘Why is this bush not burned up?’ The strength and stability of these believers can be explained only by the miracle of God’s sustaining grace. The God who sustains Christians in unceasing pain is the same God — with the same grace — who sustains me in my smaller sufferings. We marvel at God’s persevering grace and grow in our confidence in Him as He governs our lives.
Joni, as most of you know, broke her neck in a diving accident in her teens and has been in a wheelchair the 51 years since. In addition she’s had breast cancer, chronic pain, and has recently been diagnosed with a second bout of cancer. So she knows about suffering, and she has spent many years seeking God’s grace and purposes through them. The book is not exclusively about suffering, but many of the entries do deal with that and related subjects.
The pages are small, about 4×6″. Each day’s reading takes just one page and includes a Bible verse, a couple of paragraphs of Joni’s related thoughts, and a prayer at the end. So this book is easily readable through the year and tremendously meaty.
I have many more places marked than I can possibly share, but here are just a few samples:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” When you are in trouble, God doesn’t just send help; He is your help. And this help is ever-present. God is closer than your troubles and stronger than all your fears. Fix your thoughts on Him, and He will sustain you (p. 28).
When God gives you some extraordinary blessing, don’t clutch it with a white-knuckled grip, or you may destroy the very thing that makes it a blessing to you…Be willing to let the blessings go, should God choose to take them away. One day He will return what He has removed–or replace it with something better (p. 47).
Show people how someone changed by the gospel actually responds to the rough edges of life (p. 110).
It takes spiritual discipline, as well as consuming adoration for the Savior, to not become weighed down and distracted by the hard work of energetic service. Don’t shrink from serving the Lord today; just be certain to keep Jesus and His glory as your goal (p. 114).
Lord, You have never asked me to go where You haven’t gone Yourself. If I find myself on a path of pain or sorrow, I can see Your footprints ahead of me. And I know where this path leads–to joy! Just around the bend, all of the suffering will be over forever–little more than a dim memory on a fresh, eternal morning (p. 135).
If these are mere flashes and keyhole glances of heaven, what will the reality be? Every earthly beauty that moves your heart is a God-sent gift to whet your appetite for the next life (p. 314).
The robust hope of the believer is not that we will escape hurts and sorrows, but that God will make every one of them an instrument of His mercy to do us good–both now and in eternity (p. 168).
Don’t ever tolerate low thoughts of a barely adequate, minimalist Savior who might “keep you going” but not much more. Jesus has riches to bestow on you right now. He will not only give you heaven above, but heaven-hearted joy in serving Him here on earth (p. 242).
Some of Joni’s thoughts spurred my own into posts here:
I can heartily recommend this devotional book to you.