I have to admit, in our lives autism is a peculiar thing. There are bad days, no doubt. There are good days and even great days too. It is the great days and the good days that help you make it through the bad days. There are other things that that sustain you too. God’s Word, presence, people and many others.
With autism comes peculiar (to you and I) behavior. Our son loves to watch videos. He also loves to rewind them and rewind them and rewind them. You get the point. Yesterday I was watching a video in the living room fighting to keep warm. The Collingsworth family were on. They were singing an awesome song titled “The Blood Of Jesus”. I think Kim Collingsworth wrote it. To say it is powerful is a great understatement. When the song concluded here came our son. Yes, he hit rewind from the edge of the living room.. This scenario played out several times.
I thought to myself, “I wish he would quit.” Then it dawned on me. What he was doing is spreading the message of the blood of Jesus. No matter who had been here it would have been rewind, rewind and rewind. Sometimes God’s Holy Spirit uses the little things in life to get the message out. Look at I Peter 1:19, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”.
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
I was browsing through the social media site facebook and ran across a post about a family that received a nasty letter that suggested that they euthanize their teenaged son with autism. I will post a link to the story; but, the letter has a lot of offensive language in it. Click here.
I became so angry that every emotion I had surfaced simultaneously. I am heartbroken for this family and for this young man. It is obvious that the author; who did not have the courage to sign his name, had an I.Q. much lower than the boy they were writing about. I cannot imagine being this young man’s parents. The community have come out with an outpouring of support for this teen boy.
As Christians we are the subject of this everyday and most don’t even know it. Maybe they don’t care either. The Bible tells us in Revelation 12:10, And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” I am sure that God the Father will not tolerate the profanity that the letter contains; but, we stand accused by the enemy of our soul. In my mind I see Jesus stand up and proclaim, “He’s mine!” or “She’s mine!”
No matter, if the accusations are not true then we need to go on for God. If they are true then we need to confess and forsake the sin so that our enemy has nothing to use against us.
We need to be careful not to be as the devil and be “an accuser of our brethren”.
My dear friend Dr. Larry Lilly puts out various publication. He has “Larry Lilly’s Journal” and he writes a blog. They are both outstanding. His preaching is even better.
In the letter that comes with the March issue of “Larry Lilly’s Journal” I found this statement to grab me. Dr. Lilly said, “Thank you for praying for me as I reach out in many areas of ministry as Jesus uses me in these efforts. The literature output is exploding, as is the ministering to many who are facing the loss of all things. Thankfully most realize that things that matter most are left intact after the storm passes by.”
We hold so tightly to the things of this world that don’t amount to a hill of beans in eternity. When you go through the life of autism, you soon learn this truth. I have learned most lessons via the school of hard knocks. When I look back I often think, “Why did I not see that?” The old 20/20 hind sight again.
When you live the life of autism things change drastically. Your fears become realized. If you are not careful you begin to focus on the losses and crosses you bear. If you want to experience true victory in the life of autism. You must realize something.
You must realize that God is not doing this to you. He is doing it for you. You must let Him do it through you. Then you can say as Job did in Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
A couple days ago I sat in tears watching an episode of the TV show “What Would You Do?” from ABC via the internet. (click here to view) The reason it was so emotional for me is because it was actors portraying a family with a boy with autism trying to enjoy a meal in a restaurant. This video was an all too familiar scenario for my family and I. Thankfully we have never had a negative reaction that we know of like in the video; but, it has been tough to say the least. Our last try at eating out was at a new Cracker Barrel. Our son was having such a bad time that I put a pocket full of change (probably three dollars or more) on the table and my wife and I “escorted” him to our van where he proceeded to hit the door and window as hard as he could hit. You can only imagine how we were feeling at that time.
We work very hard to not over react to these melt downs; but. it is difficult. Let me ask you a question. How do you respond when you are around some child who is legitimately having a melt down? As a parent; sometimes, you want intervention (like a hug or a word of condolence or an offer to help) and other times you just want people to just clear out and let you handle the situation. When you see this please pray for these families and caregivers! I beg you to pray for them and us.
We need the help of Jude 22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference:” You can make a huge difference in the lives of these families by simply having compassion. Don’t feel sorry, feel compassion. One man described compassion as “someone else’s pain in your heart.”
I would like to continue our thoughts today that we started yesterday. Look at Deuteronomy 32:11, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:”
Today we will look at the phrase, “fluttereth over her young,”. The word “fluttereth” means to brood; by implication, to be relaxed and can be translated flutter, move, shake. When a storm comes the eagle will get the eaglets around her in such a way that they get covered over by her wings. It is their protection of the young eaglets. The parents provide shelter in the time of a storm.
God will do the same for you and I. Look at Psalm 91:4, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” What an awesome picture of God’s protection of His children. God loves you and I so much that He cares for us and gives us the example of the eagle to show us.
As you parent your child with special needs you have a great responsibility placed upon you. Remember that God; in His plan, hand picked you to parent this child or children. It helps tremendously to get the right perspective on this first. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it (whatever “it” is). Keep watch over God’s special people.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love eagles and lighthouses. We take special trips to Michigan to see lighthouses and if I can find an eagle, I will definitely try.
Eagles are a fascinating study. I am going to try to impart some of what I have learned about them to strengthen your and my Christian life.
Look at Deuteronomy 32:11, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:” Let’s take a look at the first phrase, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest,”. “Stirreth up” means the idea of opening the eyes; to wake (literally or figuratively). When the eaglet gets to a certain age the mother begins to take the nest apart while they are out of it. So, when the eagle returns to the nest it is not as comfortable and nice as it was before. The nice comfortable hide that once lined the nest is now gone and the sticks poke and hurt. Eventually the nest is gone. At this point the eaglet spends a long night on the rock.
With the LORD, He is more concerned with our character than His is our comfort. He wants you and I to be conformed into His image. He wants us to be like Him. In this process of sanctification things get uncomfortable. Sometimes they are down right painful.
Such is the life of a parent with a child with special needs. The awesome thing is that if you will allow God, He will use your child to show you things and teach you things that were not possible without that experience. I know firsthand. My wife and I have the scars to prove this. I have to say with the Happy Goodman family, “If I could still I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” Remember when the nest hurts that it is God molding you and that is painful if you do not yield to Him.
Several years ago my uncle was in the nursing home with alzheimer’s disease. It was so difficult. A lot of the times I would go visit and he would talk to me about things that took place before I was born. He spoke with me like I was his brother. This was hard to say the least. I would just go along with him so as to not upset him and cause him more pain that was already there.
This was a horrible battle that eventually took his life. It was a battle that nobody or nothing can truly prepare you for. One thing is for sure. We need the help of Jesus Christ in all of our battles no matter how big or small.
As the parent of an autistic child, the battles of life some days seem overwhelming. I mean as sincerely as I can say it, that there are days that I really think I am going down for the last time. Why? Somehow, I have let myself get into a place where what I was focused on has become out of focus. I have lost sight of Who is really fighting the battle. Look at Deuteronomy 20:1, “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” I know that our son is not our enemy; but, the autism that consumes him is my enemy. One day I hope and pray that God will change my perspective on autism. For now the disease is the enemy of this family and we fight in God’s power. You my friend, what about you?
Yesterday I watched a video of a high school boys basketball game. One of the teams have a manager who has special needs. The coach wanted to honor his commitment to the team by allowing him to suit up in uniform like the rest of the team. It was such a wonderful gesture. Then, the coach put the young man in the game where his teammates tried repeatedly to pass him the ball so he could make a shot. Time after time he missed. At the end of the game an opposing player passes this young man the ball and he makes a shot. His team still lost; but, the benches emptied as did the stands in celebration of this young man’s accomplishments. See the video here. (Hankies are required, believe me.)
The young man who passed the ball inbounds to the manager said on camera that he was raised to treat other people like he wanted to be treated. I wish him descendants as many as the sands of the beach. Here is a young man that went above and beyond to let someone else take the spotlight and have their “moment of fame’. I imagine his parents were swelled up the size of Texas with pride in their son for his act of kindness and compassion.
Today, too many of us live for the moment or we live for the almighty “me”. I assure you that “me” is in no way near almighty. When we live for self we miss so many of God’s richest blessings. We need to be sharing the gospel with others to win them to Christ. Look at Romans 9:3, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” Our purpose in life is to worship God and serve others. It is high time we get to it.
I watched a You Tube video with a friend the other night of a ten year old blind boy singing the song “Open The Eyes Of My Heart Lord”. It was powerful to say the least. You can watch the video by clicking here.
Many thoughts entered my mind. I thought how I wished that God would loose the tongue of our son so that he could sing God’s praises like this young boy. Tear scalding my cheeks I begged God for this. It is such a powerful video. Yet, the truth that I also saw was just as powerful. That truth is?
Most of us are blind. We don’t see God or if we do see Him we don’t want to see Him. This is so sad. When we read the Word of God we need to ask God to open our eyes to see what He is saying to us as we read. As we go about our day we need to ask God to help us see the opportunities we have to share salvation with the people around us. We need to ask God to open our eyes to see opportunities that we can be an extension of His out stretched hand. “Open The Eyes Of My Heart Lord”!
Look at Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. ” We need to see things as God sees them.
The other night my wife was baking brownies and cookies for me to take to the mission when I preach. We love this opportunity for service. She always makes brownies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and a third kind of cookies. The men in the shelter love the homemade goodies. They are such a blessing.
The reason that this comes to mind is because when she made the peanut butter cookies she called our son into the kitchen. He went running in there with no outbursts or anger. She gave him a fork and he mashed down the cookies with the fork as you are supposed to do. Then she turned the cookies forty-five degrees and he began to mash them all again with no frustration at all. However, instead of being a basket weave pattern it became more of an arrowhead pattern. This is outstanding! It is a huge accomplishment for him. We praise God for these little victories as they make the tough days just a tiny bit easier to struggle through.
As I thought about our son and his accomplishments, I began to realize that as he marked the peanut butter cookies; so, he is marked. I do not mean this to sound mean or demeaning; but, God has marked him. He is one of God’s special creations. God knew before the foundation of the world that our son would be one of those who live the life of autism. Unfortunately, people do not always see this about people like our son. It is sad. They are seen as weird or crazy and even worse they are seen as some kind of monsters. I pity the fool that thinks this way!
Look at Galatians 6:17, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” So, friend, what are your marks?