Joni & Friends Devotional

Joni and Friends Devotional | 26 July 2022

Joni and Friends Devotional | 26 July 2022

Joni and Friends Devotional | 26 July 2022

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Joni and Friends Daily Devotional 26th July 2022 Tuesday Message

TOPIC: The ADA and Yosemite

SCRIPTURE: “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” -Ephesians 2:17-19 (ESV) 

MESSAGE

I suffered my diving accident at a time when there was no such thing as accessibility for people like me in wheelchairs. In the 1970s, once I’d finally adjusted to life in a chair, there were plenty of things that made me feel as though I’d always be ‘less than.’ 

ALSO READ, Joni and Friends Devotional | 12 July 2022

To enjoy dinner at a restaurant, I would have to wheel down an alley, past smelly dumpsters, into a side door. And through a crowded, noisy kitchen so that I could reach my dining table. Once at a museum in Washington, DC, my sister had to tilt my wheelchair back. And then pull me bumpety-bump-bump up a flight of steps to get through the front door. And to this day, I still laugh at the time I got stuck in a lady’s dressing room while trying on clothes.

The room was very cramped, and my wheelchair got wedged between the swinging door and the wall. I sat there jammed in the tiny room until the store manager came and jerked my wheelchair free. It was humiliating.  

With each passing year, I racked up more embarrassing incidents of being stranded, getting stuck, and navigating long, winding detours so I could get into restaurants, movies, churches, and stores. That was life back then, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Joni and Friends Devotional | 26 July 2022

Then, in the late 1980s, as I became more skilled in advocating for myself, I was invited to join the National Council on Disability under President Reagan. One of the first initiatives the Council tackled was lack of access in public places.

It took a couple of years, but what an honor to finally find myself sitting on the White House lawn with other Council members as we watched President Bush sign into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Today marks the anniversary of that day. All these decades later, I don’t often think about my tenure on the National Council on Disability and what was accomplished. But just a couple weeks ago, my husband Ken and I traveled to Yosemite National Park to celebrate our anniversary.

ALSO READ, Joni and Friends Devotional | 9 July 2022

We were awestruck by God’s creation, so much beauty around us with trees and grassy meadows. We stopped to quietly gaze up at El Capitan and Half Dome, so majestic, rising above the Yosemite Valley floor.  

And we were able to enjoy all this because of one thing: everywhere we went, the paths were paved and marked with access symbols. Each path was smooth and straight, miles and miles of trails for me to wander, all throughout the national park. I could easily wheel into museums, shops, and the little restaurant. And for places I couldn’t wheel? There were accessible trams. Never did I dream that day on the White House lawn that even our national parks would be made accessible. 

Joni and Friends Devotional | 26 July 2022

When I think of how much I’ve gained access to on account of the ADA, I know it is just a glimmer of the eternal access won for me on the cross.

Therefore, I am no longer a second-rate stranger trying hopelessly to get in the back door of heaven via the smelly alley. I can come boldly to the Father because I belong… all  because of Jesus. 

Thank you, Jesus, for preaching peace to me, for paving the way for me to have access to the Father. Thank you that in you I will never be stranded, stuck, or shut out. Guide me in preaching peace to others. So that they, too, can join me as fellow citizens with the saints and members of your household.

ALSO READ, Joni and Friends Devotional | 16 November 2021

Joni & Friends Ministries Founded by Joni Eareckson Tada in 1979, Joni and Friends are dedicated to reaching out to families living with disabilities all around the globe with gospel-adorned hope. We extend gospel-centered care through Community Support, Respite, Retreats and Getaways, and Crisis Response. And we connect families with Christ-honoring, disability-friendly churches where they find a place belong.

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