My son has autism. What does that mean? It means he has a cluster of developmental delays that make him less functional in society without someone’s help.
It started out as a language delay. We didn’t panic at first because this type of delay ran on both sides of our family. Those members who’d suffered it were currently either financially well off or verbally advanced, so we waited for my son to do the same. His physical delays were less apparent. They ebbed and flowed with each test. Sometimes on target, sometimes behind. His social-skills remained above age level.
We’d hoped the language would fill in one day as it had for others we’d known. But it didn’t. So, I looked into therapies and treatments and supplements to make him well. And I prayed. No, this is not one of those stories where I came to God as a last resort. We were together on this one from the beginning. He kept me calm through the storms, though some of the storms were of my own making.
But what does one pray for as the mother of an autistic boy? The right assistance? The right therapy to fix him? Or out-and-out healing? Which prayer demonstrates the appropriate level of faith (you know, moving mountains and all that) and which prayer embodies humility, understanding the sovereignty of God’s will (His grace being sufficient)?
I still don’t have the answer to that question so I pray them all.
God is BIG! Did you know that? He’s huge. And powerful! So I didn’t think it a bad thing to pray my son be healed. But it seems others did. When I asked them to pray for healing, they’d look at me with pity in their eyes as though they believed my faith hinged on the discontinuation of his diagnosis. It made me sad. Sad they thought so little of me and worse they thought so little of God.
I had an acquaintance whose non-verbal eleven-year-old began to speak after 6 weeks of treatment with a research doctor. I met her the week I’d been fasting and praying for answers. But what made her story amazing is that she also had a team of people covering her son in prayer every day of that treatment. We now go to this same doctor and have gotten great benefit from the treatment, just not like hers. I could never find a group of people willing to pray big things. They worried more about me than they did my son. Sigh!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not of the name-it and claim-it church. God doesn’t always give us exactly what we want, when we want it. Though Paul healed many, he writes of those who remained sick. He, himself, carried a thorn that was a reminder of God’s beautiful Grace. All, but one, apostle was martyred for Christ. Sometimes bad things happen and God shows His greatness in spite of, or even because of, those things. God has blessed me in so many ways through the gentle gift of my beautiful boy. This young man shows love and concern like no other without uttering a word. Truly living his gift rather than just speaking it. He’s grown my daughter in enormous ways that she’d never have known had she had a “normal” brother. He brings me peace with just a gentle touch of his fingers. I am blessed.
One of the words my son can say is “pray.” And he knows when to say it. He is the one to remind me to seek my Creator in time of need. He says it often throughout the day. So I do. I pray for his healing. Not because I think God WILL heal my son, but because I KNOW He CAN. It is my testament of faith in His power. And still, I know He is not only omnipotent, but omniscient. He knows what is best for me and my son’s ministry for His Glory. He has a better plan than I can even imagine, and it just may include autism.
I submit to that plan.
He is Good!
Oh, and if you are so inclined, feel free to pray for my son. I won’t mind :o)!!! Let me know and I will return the favor—Comment below.
My son inspired the character, Tibo, in the following novel ...
Pastor Vince Steegle thought his destructive beginnings were ancient history, but the ramifications of his prior choices just walked in the door of his church. Is Romans 8:28 really true? Can God really make all things good? Or is Vince’s past just too ugly?
After the death of her much-beloved husband, Cassandra Whitaker is looking for security for her children. One, a teen on the cusp of womanhood. The other, a young boy struggling with the effects of autism. But there are those who seek to destroy them. Can Cassandra keep her family safe, or must she flee from evil?
Note on Autism:
Whenever I write or talk about my son and his giftedness in heart, I feel I need to caution readers who do not experience the effects of autism on a daily basis. Yes, I can see my son as a gift from God. His autism has made him quiet and even serene. His particular gifting is in how he seems to read the emotions of others in a room better than the average person. Others struggling with this disorder have a very opposite experience. Their affected child may speak and understand, read and write, but are emotionally distant, and may engage in violent behavior. We only see glimpses of some of these challenges in my son at times. If you know someone struggling with the effects of this disorder in their homes, please do not press on them how they should see autism as a gift from God. Though I truly think God can reveal Himself through their struggles and their child is also a gift, those words can be often leave the afflicted feeling alone and misunderstood. Pray for them … and in any way you can, help to bring them relief!