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Finding Faith and Hope in the “New Normal”

I’ve been reading some of the all-time most inspiring books; the latest on my list teaches about finding faith and meaning no matter what happens in life.

Stories of Hope blogger David Morris

Today is a normal day. I can hear the sound of one daughter brushing her teeth; the clink of a spoon against a cereal bowl by another daughter; the cat meowing, waiting for her morning meal. My wife is checking her email and preparing for her day as an elementary school music teacher. I’m getting ready for work, doing my ironing.

It’s reassuring to believe one’s life is normal. We tend to think that we’ve got everything going in the right direction. All is well and will be well. We’re living right, and life will do right by us. And yet we all know there’s no such thing as normal.

This week I’ve been continuing to read some of the all-time most inspiring books of personal hope and faith, part of an effort to discover more such stories for Guideposts Books’ publishing program. After reading The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, I’m now on to Joni by Joni Eareckson Tada.

When Joni was a teenager, she dove into the Chesapeake Bay, not knowing how shallow the water was. She fractured her neck and permanently lost all feeling from her shoulders down. Her life going forward was anything but normal.

It’s quite a lot to ask a young woman with promise, hope and dreams to adjust to something completely different. Much of the book relays not so much the physical trials of being paralyzed, but rather the emotional and spiritual ones. How can God let something like this happen? Why such a seemingly random and capricious accident that forever and dramatically changes the course of life?

In reading Joni, we discover that what matters is not what actually happens to us in life as how we respond. It seems simple enough in principle, but what we learn is that it’s a question of finding faith and meaning, no matter what happens. We may not have to go through Joni’s circumstances to learn the extraordinary ways these lessons must be learned, but none of our lives turns out exactly as we planned.

Instead, we learn God takes care of us, not so much in guaranteeing a normal life, but rather in being with us each step of the way—with the peace that comes from understanding, the assurance that happens when we hold each other up despite unexpected circumstances, and the calm and wisdom that occur in our search for faith.

Have you read an inspirational book like Joni lately? I’d love to hear about it.

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