I waited patiently for the Lord; . . . He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire. (Ps. 40:1–2)

At the age of seventeen, Joni Eareckson Tada dove into shallow waters as a young, athletic woman with all life’s options available to her, only to emerge a quadriplegic. In a moment, everything changed. Joni felt stuck, out of options. But then these words changed her perspective: “Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” Joni tucked that message deep in her soul and waited as God shaped her pain into a full, fruitful life. She got married, wrote over fifty books, and become an advocate for disability awareness through her foundation Joni & Friends.

No one wants to be in the muck and the mire. It’s cold. It’s unstable. You’re vulnerable out there. When life feels impossible, when you’re trapped in shame cycles or overcome by circumstances, natural instincts start shouting, “Get out fast!” Your brain scrambles to find solutions and make changes. Maybe you just want to quit.

But what if the mire is exactly where you need to be? What if there’s grace to be found in life’s gritty places? That if you just wait and watch—anticipating God’s redemption—he would put a new song in your mouth? And what if that song not only saves you, but also proclaims God’s abundance and deliverance to those who are still in the waiting?

Remember that even suffering can be sacred when God is in it.

Sarah E. Westfall writes and speaks about seeing God in the beautiful, broken, and in-between places in life. She resides in Indiana with her husband, Ben, and their four boys.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.