Throughout the Beyond Suffering Bible Joni Eareckson Tada shares personal insights on how God can use anything, even suffering, to bring us closer to him and display his glory. When our lives don’t go the way we want, when the suffering and pain seem too much to bear we have a choice, we can either rely on God or let bitterness consume us. Read what Joni has to say about a time when God brought her face-to-face with her own tendency to hold on to bitterness.

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Troubles. Hardships. Calamities. Ever heard that old adage, “Bad things come in threes”? It’s only folk wisdom, but somehow it seems true.

Bitterness was a temptation for me in the early days of my paralysis. Deep inside I knew it was wrong, but I justified myself by saying, “Surely God won’t mind if I let off a little steam now and then. After all, I am paralyzed!” But as many of us have learned, indulging in bitterness leads us down a path to even more despair and bitterness.

As if that trouble wasn’t enough, God added a second hardship. Several months into my hospital stay, I had an operation on my lower spine. After the surgery, I was forced to life face down for fifteen days while the stiches healed. “I am sick and tired of this,” I complained out loud.

Then, the third distress came: I caught the flu. Suddenly, not being able to move was peanuts compared to not being able to breathe. I was miserable! But as I thought about it, I understood what God was doing. No longer was my bitterness a tiny trickle; it was a raging torrent that could not be ignored. It was as if God was holding my anger up before my face and saying lovingly but firmly, “Stop turning your head and looking the other way. This bitterness has got to go. What are you going to do about it?”

The pressure had gotten so strong that I was either going to give the situation over to him completely or allow myself to wallow in bitterness. Faced with that ultimatum, I was able to clearly see what a wicked course bitterness would be. Sometimes troubles, hardships, and distresses—in groups of three (or more!)—back us into a corner and force us to seriously consider the lordship of Christ.

Lord, when troubles pile on, may I look to you for help and hope.

Find out more about Joni and her team at Joni and Friends .

Looks Inside the Beyond Suffering Bible

23 thoughts on “Bitterness

  1. Joni,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    There is no telling how many souls you have lead to Christ cause of that. Please pray for me and my struggles. May God bless you and your family.
    Acts 20:24

  2. I am so touched by Joni’s story as a somewhat seasoned believer. I’ve been battling depression, anxeity, loneliness, sense of failure,poor health, lack of will power, etc. I know that I have a choice today.. I can choose to be happy or be miserable. I make it a point today to get down on my knees in the morning and at night and turn my will and my life over to God. I am not smart enough to run the show on my own. It only brings despair when I do. Thanks for sharing!! Joan Amrhein.

    1. In the mighty Name of Jesus I bind and rebuke all depression, anxiety, loneliness, failure, sickness & disease and forbid you to operate against Joan. I cancel all assignments of depression, anxiety, loneliness, failure, sickness & disease assigned against Joan and decree: NO WEAPON of depression, anxiety, loneliness, failure, sickness & disease shall prosper against her in the Name of Jesus. In the mighty Name of Jesus I decree: Joan is delivered and set free.

    2. Joan, I too was touched by Joni’s story, it truly made my struggle that keeps me awake at night seem small, and put a halt to the why me and bitterness toward God. But as to what you wrote Joan, I couldn’t believe what I was reading, I suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness and no sense of purpose and the one thing that kept joy in my heart besides the Lord was my Smokey my cat I raised since a kitten, he was so in tune with my depression he would jump on me get as close to my face as he possibly could and stare directly in my eyes and place his paw gently on my face as if to wipe my tears, he was truly my best friend, he would comfort me, make me laugh even share my Bible studies and worship with me he would always jump on my Bible, he was my furbaby to fill the void of not being able to have a child. Smokey passed away yesterday at 12:15pm in front of me with no known cause he gasped for air kicked around the entire horrible event was less than 8 minutes, my best friend of 10 years left my side to go to a better place, today I am a wreck just searching for God’s peace in the midst of suffering from a broken heart. I need to choose to be happy and give it all to God but it hurts.

      1. Erica, I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. Loss of any kind can be hard. I pray that God put his arms around you and give you peace through this very difficult time. God will definitely be your comforter. Hugs and prayers. Smokey would not want you to be sad!

        1. I believe you Lord Jesus and when you say to me that, you have only good things in-store for me, I know that regardless of the struggle that there is victory.
          God bless you for your testimony and just like the blind man who was healed by Jesus, his suffering like your, is so that we all can see the glory of God.
          Press on sister and to God be the glory

        2. Thank you so much Michelle, I really appreciate your kind words, you truly brought some peace to my broken heart, because no one family or friends have used those words to me during my 30 hour cry fest: “Smokey would not want you to be sad” you are so right he wouldn’t his entire time with me 10 years he was comforting me and filling my life with joy, he would not want me sad. Thank you again for replying to my comments you are an angel. God bless you.

  3. Your story was uplifting, as we all face issues in life, I pray that we all remember, that The Lord is in control, and that His thoughts are not ours or His ways, but we all must keep Jesus Christ first in all things we go through, Amen.

  4. Joni I have heard you speak on radio and you are always a blessing. You have allowed God to use your brokenness to help children and adults have a chance get up and roll. God gave you the ability to help others , thank you for showing others we are not limited by what happens to us. God has a greater calling. God bless you you are loved.

  5. GOD bless you Mom… I am too blessed with your experience with GOD… JESUS is wonderful…. hoping to hear more from you Mom… Thanks🙏

  6. Good Day. My friend Mureen has kidney failures and is now hemorrhaging. I was reading the testimony from Joni when her text came in. I just sent her Joan’s response. We are all somewhat facing different challenges especially health wise and there seems to be no end. But 1 Cor 10:13 says God is faithful to not put more on us than we can bear. He must know our inner strength than we do. I’ve often asked Him ” God do you really trust me enough to allow me to go through this without failing???” But sure enough He’s able to carry us through. I’m praying for you too.


  7. This testimony is purposely for me , all throughout yesterday night I was depressed, on how my children disrespects me, how my husband has kept me miserable, deceiving me and not dependable ,can’t put food on the table, children clothing, feeding and schooling all on me. when sick no proper care and meditation, living an unfulfilled dream. l was sad, lonely and filled with anxiety. can’t pray , yet he’s not bothered always thinking of himself. l wept
    bitterly and prayed a short while and left the house to refresh outside. as l picked up my phone, here is Joni’s message, I’m happy cause I felt God is using this medium to settle me, from today, l choose to be happy . God bless you, Joni.

    1. Praying for you, Nancy. It can get overwhelming when you feel you have no help. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ that your spirit will be renewed and you will mount up with wings like eagles as the scripture pictures it. As we learn from Job, God is really all we need, Praise Him for comforting you and I pray He will send you a friend to share your burdens, convict your husband to step up to his God given purpose, and call your kids to follow Him which will result in them honoring you as they should. In the name of Jesus, I ask these things, Lord. Hugs to you. Hang in there and reach out however you can. Phones can be a tool of God.

  8. I wanted to request a prayer from you good people asking God to bless me with strength, guidance, protection and wisdom.
    I am under severe attack by Satan and only God through Jesus can save me.
    Thank you
    And all of you will be in my prayers also

  9. Thank you for sharing your story! Whenever I want to feel bitter about something small I will ALWAYS think of you. I will be passing this story on.

  10. I went through a life changing situation in a short space of time. Discovered that I have a my health is not right.. Few months I lost my kids..but what sustained me through the process is a voice I heard out of nowhere saying God is control. Every time I go through difficult times and run out of words when praying… I just say
    ‘God you are in control ‘


  12. David trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your PATHS.

  13. Joni, what a special purpose you have here on Earth!!! You are special and especially blessed by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!! God’s ways are opposite our ways. What most would see as awfully tragic, as a Christian I see you as being given a phenomenal part to play in God’s story of redeeming human beings back to Him. I love you for what you have experienced, yet in that experience having surrendered yourself totally to Jesus Christ and His purposes for you, as well as His purposes for all of us who are pushed towards Him and the Father because of who you are and what you do. Love you!!!

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