Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Autism & Healing

Last year, a friend ask me to participate in a walk to help raise money for autism research, programs, and therapies. Since her son is autistic and has been helped by a number of these resources, I agreed to do the walk.

The parking lot was set up with a lot of tables and tents advertising one therapy after another, but I couldn't help but notice an absence of hope among this particular crowd of people. Bitterness and disappointment just seemed to sit heavily upon my shoulders that morning. Though numerous people came out to show their support, all in all, it was a depressing event. I went home with such a heavy heart.

Something's Missing

I took a second look at all of the table displays to try to understand why I felt so uncomfortable. State of the art this. State of the art that. Everything promised healing or at least improvement in the life of an autistic child. Despite the fact that I know some, if not most of these therapies are beneficial, I knew something was missing. And that something, I saw, was the knowledge that Jesus Christ still heals today. Faith in Jesus is just as essential for healing as is science, but many people forget this or just do not want to acknowledge His ability to heal as reality.

Christian Healing Is for Whackos...Or Is It?

Unfortunately, even a majority of Christians have misconceptions about what inner healing is and what it looks like. Too many of us are walking around with pictures of sweaty evangelists slapping some poor soul in the head declaring that person to be healed during a big tent revival in the middle of nowhere. True some people have gotten healed this way, but it's really not the norm. If it's not, though, what is?

Prayer Changes Things

The truth is inner healing is a comprehensive, progressive and ongoing process fueled by intensive prayer. Prayer is the vehicle that allows us to enter into and maintain relationship with Jesus. The more we build relationship, the more we see the many ways He is at work in our lives. And when we see Jesus at work in our lives, our faith is built up. When our faith gets stronger, so does our sense of hope. Ultimately an increase of hope leads to an increase of joy.

What About Science?

I am scientific by nature. I am continually amazed by all of the discoveries made everyday by scientists--not just about autism but about anything really. It is helpful, useful, and we see miracles through science all the time. We need science. That said, I am not advocating in any way the withholding of medical treatment in favor of what some refer to as faith only healing. This is actually child abuse and often has rather tragic outcomes.

What I am advocating here is the reintroduction of faith into the lives of suffering people. I guess in some way this post is a challenge to anyone who feels they have exhausted every last resource yet still feels they are living without hope. It sounds trite, but I'm asking you to give prayer a try. If you are at the point where there is really nothing left to lose, then I hope you will pray. And I will pray for you that the Lord will answer your call. I believe He wants to answer and thus He will.  

For more information on healing prayer and retreats, you can contact Christian Healing Ministries or have a look at their site at http://www.christianhealingmin.org/. They have numerous books available in their store as well as other helpful resources.

God bless you today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Autism & Joy

I have a little neighbor who, whenever he sees me, shouts my name with the most delight I've ever heard come out of a child. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to give him a tight squeeze as he runs into my open arms. Matthew is just one of the many sources of joy in my life.

I didn't always have this joy, however. The way I was raised and the anger and disappointment that came from most of the adults in my life told me that autism was some sort of social death sentence. For years I believed this and never tried nor wanted to relate to anyone. Until I went back to college that is.

The decision to return to a world teeming with people and life ultimately changed everything for me. The journey to love my neighbor got officially underway then, but with this trip there's never really a final destination. None of us love perfectly but I do think loving better than we did is a worthy goal to have. And it's the striving to achieve this goal that brings me the most pleasure in life.

Autism is a force to be reckoned with. I would be less than honest if I didn't admit that. Even so, it does not have the power to steal joy. I hope all of you who are weary and afraid can find some of what you need here. Even if it's just one more thread for the end of your rope, I hope to encourage you to take it and then to hold on.

It's hard, but joy can come in the morning even when you've been up all night crying...the sun does eventually shine again.