This May will mark over 9,200 radio programs I’ve recorded over the past 35 years. It’s hard for me to believe, considering where it all started. It was in late 1981 and I had been in bed for several weeks trying to heal up a stubborn pressure sore. After being in bed a month, I had become discouraged. That’s when Al and Jon – top executives from Ambassador Agency, a media group that works in Christian radio – came to meet with me. Scheduling the meeting in my bedroom felt a little awkward but, well… that’s the nature of having a disability.
Al and Jon pulled up their chairs to my bedside, and shared the purpose of their visit. They had been reading my books, and listening to my messages, and they wanted me to consider going on the radio. I tried to lift my head off the pillow to say, “What? You want me to what?” I had a hard time picturing their vision; I couldn’t imagine my message going anywhere beyond the four walls of my bedroom, but Al and Jon enthusiastically believed in the potential of “Joni and Friends” radio.
They explained how many people listen to Christian radio – although listeners might not be struggling with quadriplegia, they are still fighting discouragement, depression, pain and loss…just like me. “People need to hear a voice of real encouragement from someone who has experienced these challenges, someone who has searched the Bible for answers and has applied them,” assured Al and Jon. And now, 35 years later – to my amazement – I am still sharing fresh lessons from this wheelchair and from the Word of God.
And I’m convinced the best is yet to be! It seems, as never before, people are hungry for a rugged, honest view of suffering from a biblical perspective. And I see “Joni and Friends” as a vehicle to help listeners learn how to live – and live well – in a world of pain and suffering. So thanks for listening, friend – onward and upward as together we celebrate God’s faithfulness through 3 1/2 decades on-the-air with “Joni and Friends.”
35th Anniversary Radio Contest