Exchange the Meaning
by Joni Eareckson Tada
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.’  Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites.  Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.'” 
Exodus 14:15-16; 17:9
When God parted the Red Sea, He told Moses to “raise your staff.”  After the glorious miracle occurred, Moses was careful to refer to it as “the staff of God.”  It was just an ordinary stick of wood, but when the Lord chose it for His tool, the staff took on new ownership and meaning.
God can exchange the tragic meaning behind accidents or injuries for something new and positive.  The cross is a good example.  What was once a symbol of torture and pain now represents hope and salvation.  My wheelchair, which once signified tragedy and confinement, is the very thing that now gives me freedom and mobility.
When God uses for His glory the most ordinary things — such as a staff, or a cross, or a wheelchair — He gives each one unique and special meaning.
What are the symbols of tragedy in your life?  A crutch or hearing aid?  Where you live?  Your appearance or abilities?  God can exchange the meaning of the heartbreak for something hopeful and positive.  God did it at the Cross, and He can do it for you.
Father, I present to you today the disappointing things in my life that hold sad or tragic meaning.  Turn my darkness into light.  Exchange the sadness for hope.  Let me see these things as symbols of Your loving and sovereign touch.  I will praise You, for you are the God who turns weeping into joy.


Joni and Friends
Taken from Diamonds in the Dust
Copyright © 1993
By Joni Eareckson Tada
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.
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The Beyond Suffering Bible was carefully crafted by our team at Joni and Friends in partnership with Tyndale House Publishers to specifically address the needs of people affected by disability and those facing chronic conditions. We invite you to help us put the Beyond Suffering Bible into the hands of people who greatly need God’s infinite hope.
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