Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Would I Change?

I have a dear friend whose son is autistic. When he was diagnosed, she, the hard-charging career woman engineer thought, "we can fix this" and began a search for answers and solutions.
As time went on and she found there were no medicines to take, no cures to institute, she cried out to God, "Why?" He was her only child; she had such hopes and dreams for him.
My friend descended into the pit of despair, mourning what would never be for her child or for her.

It was there that she could finally hear a persistent voice. In her rushing around searching for a fix she had suppressed the voice that was calling to her. It said, "do you trust me?" It was her Savior. He had been calling all along, but her ears had not been ready to hear.
And in her grief, she laid down her self-determination and grabbed onto that voice like a drowning woman. And her life was changed FOREVER. Her grief in loss was converted to dancing and JOY.

That was nearly 17 years ago. By the measure of earthly standards, her life has not changed.

Her son is still autistic. And while she and her husband have gratefully accepted the assistance of school, church and the medical community to craft environments in which her son can thrive, he isn't "fixed", and will never live the kind of life that every parent of a newborn envisions for their child.

But she says she would not change her son's autism, even now. 

As the rest of us with teens are helping them learn to drive and prepare for college, she smiles and cheers for and LOVES our children. 

But she says she would not change her son's autism because it was through the journey with her son that she truly began a relationship with her Savior. And it is through the continuing relationship with her son that she continues to see the face and heart of Jesus.

My friend is still the dynamic, full speed ahead person that she was but her focus is different. She is, in many ways, like Paul of the Bible. She is so confident and sure of her Savior's love for her, that she doesn't waste a lot of time on the petty annoyances of life. Her deepest desire is no longer to "fix" her son, but to "fix" everyone else up with Jesus.

She wants to be the embodiment of the verse in 2 Peter in which God says he wants everyone to have the opportunity to hear His word, and come to repentance.  (The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.) My friend will give you a verse to get over your self-pity and self-doubt in the drop of a hat.

And sometimes that confidence really irritates people. But it's the kind of confidence that Paul had when he stated, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

The Gospel IS irritating. It is that voice that calls us to look hard at our lives and see whether there's anything about them that is of true, lasting significance.  And if you find out that there's a hole there, or a still soft voice calling your name, and you don't know what to do about it, e-mail me. There's so much more to life than what you're living now.


quilly said...

This post carries the most powerful and precious message in the world. God loves us and wants a personal relationship with each one of us. He wants to make us more, not less; and he wants to change our sorrows and challenges to blessings and joys.

Pat said...

This is so beautiful, it touched my heart and made me cry. I've known Jesus as my Savrior for going on 43 years, yet your words about your friend's faith and trust in the Lord reminded me once again that I need to not waste a lot of time on the petty annoyances of life, but to share with others the love and forgiveness of God through Messiah Jesus. I have some relatives in my life that I want to "fix," but really, all I can do for them is pray for them. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Do you mind if I print out your article and share it with a friend of mine with an autistic 18-yo daughter? I'll include your name and/or website.