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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Autism & Gifts

Along the journey of my healing, I have met many parents of autistic children. Most of them desire to see their children healed, yet surprisingly, there is some hesitation to pray for it. As a child ages, sometimes gifts emerge. As a result, people fear that if the autism goes away so will the talent that often times gives a disabled person some form of validation. 

Lovingly I say to those of you with this fear, our gifts come from just one source. That source is God. Not a disease. Furthermore, these gifts can serve as a catalyst for freedom. If your child sings, the praise to Jesus weakens the chains of autism. If she paints, whether she knows it, she is connected to God's creation every time she looks at her subject matter. If he is an early reader, the power of story has the ability to kindle the fire of a dormant or imprisoned imagination. 

My Latest (Copyrighted!) Sketch by Kelly A. Noll

Remember, the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). Nothing we are given in terms of gifts and talents can be taken away from us under any circumstances. If your daughter is an artist now with autism, she will be an artist tomorrow--without autism. It's that simple!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.   ~James 1:17