Monday, May 28, 2012

Autism & Love

Everyone wants to fit in. Everyone wants acceptance. Usually, an autism diagnosis means both will be a struggle. I understand the desire for these things, but generally my biggest concern lies not in how an autistic person will be loved and accepted. Rather, my question is, without healing how will an autistic person love and accept others? Most importantly, how will she be able to love and relate to Jesus as her friend, Lord, and Savior?

Until recently, I've been more of a casual reader of the Gospels than an intentional one. But yesterday I was truly struck by something I never noticed--beginning at John 14 and ending at John 15:17. It is in these verses, Jesus mentions not once, but five times, the relationship between obedience and love. "If you love me, you will obey what I command (John 14:15)." 

He then goes on to say, in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name (emphasis mine). This is my command: Love each other."


Amazingly, there is a sequence here--and even a secret in terms of power in prayer. Generally, we think if we have a strong prayer life we will bear much fruit, but this Scripture suggests the opposite. First we are appointed. Then we go and bear fruit from that appointment. The fruit being the result of loving each other. When we do this, and the fruit is apparent, we can ask for whatever we want in Jesus' name and it will be given. 

And what does it mean to ask for something in Jesus' name? It is not just mentioning Jesus in a petition. It is actually praying in accordance with all that the person who bears the name is. You are praying in love's name, and in the name of gentleness, kindness, goodness, patience, humility, and every aspect of Jesus' character.

In the midst of your concerns about the social acceptance of your children, my prayer for you is that you look at the bigger picture here. When you pray for healing (which I hope you all are doing), make salvation for your kids the primary goal, that they may forever dwell in the heart and Kingdom of the Lord, that they may bear the fruit of His Name which is love, and that they know the security and sweetness of His presence. Jesus loves you, and He so loves every autistic child. He longs for their freedom.

Come to His table today and feast on His goodness. Healing is possible, and He will do it all.


2 comments:

  1. You mentioned in John 15:16 ...that Jesus mentions that He chose you and appointed you…. I feel that the Spiritual Gifts that God has given us leads us into those appointed areas of service and if we work in our gifted areas we will bear much fruit. It’s when we try and serve out of our gifting area is when we get “burned out”.

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    1. I am not sure how to reply. I think I mostly agree, but honestly, I would have to say I am likely to be more productive in the Kingdom if I allow the Lord to develop the fruit of the Holy Spirit within me rather than desire the manifestation of spiritual gifts. When in relationship with Jesus, manifestation can be expected, but not everyone who operates in their gifts does it with love, which is more of my concern than not having them. Anyway, the point here is to remember that it is the Lord who does the choosing and appointing. All we can do is answer His call once we receive it. The purpose of spiritual gifts is for the building up of others in the Body so that they can know the Lord more fully and to enjoy Him forever.

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