Nancy Guthrie and Joni Eareckson Tada begin their conversation by reflecting on the first time they met, more than 20 years ago. At the time, Guthrie was reading Tada’s book Heaven: Your Real Home, as Guthrie’s daughter had recently gone home to heaven.
This memory prompts Guthrie to ask Tada what it means to set the heart on heaven. Tada does her best to take God’s advice to lay up treasures in heaven, where she will be with Jesus, who makes it a heavenly place. Tada also references Jonathan Edwards’s remark on heaven where he said, in Tada’s paraphrase, that everything we do down here on earth has a direct bearing on our capacity for worship and joy and service in heaven. For Tada, this means that every day she can invest in heaven, trust and obey God, believe his Word, and follow him more closely.
Guthrie adds that the joy of heaven is going to be many things, but the Bible says that the ultimate joy we’re going to have is being in God’s presence and seeing him face to face.
This resonates with Tada as someone who has been paralyzed for 52 years. Though she looks forward to having a new heavenly body one day, she’s most looking forward to the new heart—a heart free from all sin.
Guthrie then asks Tada if she thinks it’s true that suffering allows the Christian to relate more to the sufferings and things of Christ. Tada says that suffering can be a platform that gives someone authority to model and speak about joy in suffering. When Tada looks at her quadriplegic friends and their trust in the Lord through their heartache and hardships, she listens to what they say about their faith.
Guthrie adds that it is an incredible privilege, at the lowest places of our lives, to sense that God is at work and present in these low places of life—the work of God on the interior of our lives is being put on display for the world.
Guthrie goes on to ask Tada how she makes sense of various theological beliefs about praying for healing and believing that Jesus will heal us. In response, Tada says, we must go to Scripture to make sense of it all because, yes, on one hand, God wants us to pray for healing. Jesus wants us to be healed in the sense that he despises suffering. He doesn’t take any delight in it. He spent time on earth removing it. Yet we also must look at Jesus’s priorities—he is much more concerned about the healing of our inward soul, about getting rid of sin. God’s core plan in rescuing us is to get us free of sin, not only when we first believed and when we prayed to receive Jesus, because we are even now being saved.
Guthrie and Tada sing multiple hymns together as their hearts are stirred during this conversation about suffering, healing, and heaven.