Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Write-Up: A Spectacle of Glory, by Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada, with Larry Libby.  A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining Through Me Every Day.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016.  See here to buy the book.

For almost fifty years, Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic, dealing, not only with the limitations that this condition brings, but also with continuous chronic pain.  Her book, A Spectacle of Glory, is a daily devotional.  Each devotion contains a Scripture reference (without always quoting the Scripture), thoughts that relate to the Scripture (sometimes explicitly, and sometimes not), and a prayer.

Some topics that recur throughout the book include:

—-God’s care for us, strengthening of us, and enabling us for service in the midst of our helplessness and our weakness.

—-How we should give God thanks for everything, including suffering.  Tada says that she grew up as a Reformed Episcopalian, so perhaps Reformed teachings about the sovereignty of God influence her teaching, in this area.  Tada also mentions the Puritans more than once in this book.

—-How our dead Christian friends and relatives may be praying for us in heaven.  This reminded me of Catholic teaching about the intercession of the saints!

—-The importance of continual prayer and Bible reading.

—-How others can see us handle adversity with strength, joy, patience, and endurance (with God’s help) and be drawn to God as a result.  This teaching turns me off, somewhat, since it seems to imply that Christians are supposed to put on a show of poise before the world, when they themselves struggle, as Tada herself confesses.  Still, I can see how this teaching can give suffering people comfort, by placing their suffering within the context of an important mission.

—-The hope of going to heaven after death.

—-Jesus is our friend even when we are alone, yet fellowship with other people is important, as a way to encourage them and to be encouraged.

—-How Jesus on earth was thoughtful of and towards others, even in his own time of suffering.  These particular devotions, in my opinion, were the best in the book, for Tada supported what she was saying with examples from Scripture.  Often, when Christians are told to imitate Jesus, I wonder how one can do that, specifically.  I can’t perform miracles, and I will not be crucified any time soon!  But I can try to imitate Jesus’ thoughtfulness towards others in the Gospels, as Jesus expressed concern for people and engaged them.

These were topics that recurred frequently throughout the book, but here are some honorable mentions, or devotions that raised thoughtful points that occurred only once in the book (as far as I remember): the devotion about how we should not cling to our blessings (page 47), and the devotion saying that God is not disillusioned with us because God had no illusions about us in the first place (page 374)!

Although the book covered certain points more than once, it was never boring, for Tada used different anecdotes and examples.  Her points were not particularly deep, but they were still insightful, authentic, and encouraging.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers.  My review is honest!

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