Yesterday I was stumped when a reader asked me this question … causing me to pray for a response to one of the most difficult, baffling questions a parent of a special needs kid can ever face.
Have you ever asked God this question?:
Why, God, did you give me a child with a special need?
First let me say that I wouldn’t begin to tell you that I know the mystery of God’s limitless wisdom. But I will tell you this: I know that God’s promise that “all things will work together for our good.” (Romans 8:28) … is very true.
Please don’t shut me out just yet!
I’m not tossing you another platitude, one of those tiring, meaningless statements that you’ve no doubt heard before. I understand that when we are in the muck of life with our child, we want more than a quick response to a difficult problem. We want help and answers right now, so it is hard to care about the bigger picture, to somehow make sense of today’s sorrow for a greater purpose in your life.
And yet, I am not kidding you. Being the mother of a child with autism … has blessed our family.
I want to be real with you, though: Was it hard? OH YES. Were there days I wanted to give up? YOU KNOW IT! MANY TIMES! (and somedays I still do). Did I get angry at God on hard days? YES, I DID! (but He can take my frustrations and love me still.) In the early years, Alec was very difficult to parent. But with the passing years, winter to spring and summer to fall, he gets better while I get stronger, and all thanks to God’s faithful help.
And that’s the key.
I have learned to lean on God—hard—to get us through the difficult days. I have learned to LOOK UP to God instead of looking at my circumstances. And I find that after all of the trials, year after year and minute by minute, we have survived. God has proven that He is faithful. That we can still laugh. We can still smile. With dirt on our faces, standing in the muck of life, we can see with our own eyes that life is precious and holy… when God is in control.
Living with a child with special needs is a great journey. Yes, there are impossibly hard days, but also some amazing victories.
The truth? If you can believe me…I wouldn’t trade my rock-filled path with anyone. Looking back on it all, I would never ask for another mom’s road.
So we come full circle, back to the original question: Do you know why I personally, truly, and honestly think God gave me an autistic son? Are you ready for this? If so, here is my answer:
I think He gave me an autistic son because He really, really loves me. He wanted me to discover just how faithful He really is. He wanted to give me a gift that no man could take away: A special knowledge of the power, strength, holiness, faithfulness, might and wisdom of God that only comes from NEEDING HIM DESPERATELY.
I believe that it is the answer. I also believe that is why He gave you a child like my Alec. Because He really loves you, and He wants to show you just how much.
There’s so much more that I’d like to share with you, especially if you are a loved one of a special needs child.
Most importantly, God is very able to help you and your sweet child. Not only is He able, but He desires to surround you with His strength, patience and love. He’s proven that love by giving us an inheritance of promises that we can count on to make it through the hard days.
Better still, God sent the very best Advocate (John 14:16 and 1 John 2:1) we could ever want for our child! This Advocate is one that we don’t have to seek out. We won’t need to place a second (or third) mortgage on our house to afford His services. He knows everything about our child: their innermost thoughts, the words they say (or cannot say), and the structure of every cell in their body.
This Advocate hears our children when they cry and whispers comforts to them on long, restless nights. He is the voice that they do not have. The Peace that they seek. The arms that never tire, even when our own arms, as parents, do. He sits at the right hand of Almighty God and has His Father’s ear. He knows that we will encounter trials and hardships, but He has already overcome them, promising rest, guidance and wisdom when we need it.
Our Advocate—Jesus—longs to help you! I know, because He helped me, and He helped my son.
He was there when I’d had enough. He listened when I felt lost and alone in a crazy, messed up world with a child I didn’t know how to communicate with. When I would have given up, He promised a better day for my son … and for me.
I am convinced that God’s ears quicken to the sound of a troubled child’s cry. I know that He listens to every prayer that rises from the lips of a mother. I know that He is for us.
Our Advocate is standing by.
Know that God will honor every promise, and I mean every promise, that Scripture gives to His children. I want you to know that you can have joy again, overflowing, spilling out, and never running dry… if you will surrender your cares to Him. It won’t happen in a day, but trust me, it will happen.
The truth is that we are blessed to love a special needs child. Blessed to experience the beauty of that love.
Yes, that’s what I wanted to tell you.
If you would like to know more about Biblical promises to face a special need—and there are many—that’s what my book Autism’s Hidden Blessings: Discovering God’s Promises for Children with Special Needs is about. It’s about a God who cares VERY MUCH about children with special needs—a message to parents who need to know just how much they are loved. You can preview it by clicking here.
Also, watch two personal stories about the process of finding strength for the special needs journey by checking out the recording from last Sunday’s Spreecast, “Finding Strength for the Autism” (or any special need!) with fellow author Patty Myers, author of the encouraging book, “Autism is a Blessing.”
I want to leave with you with this truth: You and your child are vastly, profoundly, and deeply loved. God is for you!
So walk in the victorious onfidence of Christ today!
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