We were late to church. We are late to everything now. I hate being late. If it is just me I am always early. Too early in fact. On this day we had to sneak into church ten minutes into the service. We found a spot in the balcony.
Our son did not want to go to Sunday school so he joined us. He also will not behave in Sunday school. He is seven and is obviously not paying attention to the service. It had been a rough morning. He did not get his way and took his frustration out on me by trying to kick me multiple times. I was angry with him. I tried to not take it personally, but I find this to be extremely difficult. If I had kicked my dad I would am not sure I would be around to write this post.
So we were late, I had been kicked at and I was in a foul mood at this point. A very foul mood. To make matters worse church had not been nourishing my soul as of late. There had been changes and new staff and something was missing. We could not even put our son in Sunday School because he refused to behave in class. The children’s ministry wanted to put him in a special needs class even though this was not necessary in elementary school. I also was not taking care of my own spiritual needs. It was a viscous downward cycle.
We had recently received the surprise autism diagnosis. It was simply overwhelming. We were only a few weeks into this unknown world and were simply drowning. There were few we felt comfortable turning too. We were not quite ready to share with our own parents and we did not have friends that would yet understand. Honestly the first sense that we were not alone in this battle came through a podcast discovery. There were others in this race even if we did not know them personally.
So here we were with all these thoughts swimming in my head. On this day the church was baptising an infant. A recent newborn with so much in front of him. We were in the same place at one time. Actually that is not completely true. Our son had complications at birth, but nothing that gave us any sign that we would find ourselves in this place seven years later. Premature, jaundice but no one mentioned autism. Who knew the behavioral issues we would have to face?
The parents of the baby were all smiles supported by family and friends in the front three pews. Would they still be supportive seven years later if this babe turned a young child that would find himself in constant trouble?
The pastor after sprinkling the waters of baptism on the babe’s head, the pastor paraded him down the aisle for the congregation an opportunity to view the child. The pastor then broke out into the classic Sunday school song Jesus Loves the Little Children:
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red, and yellow, black, and white,
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
The congregation was asked to join in as he sang the song a second time. My lips refused to move. The heart of mine would not allow me to sing.
I did not know if the lyrics were true. I could not believe it in the moment. Instead my heard bubbled over with anger.
Does He love the all the little children of the world?
I had witnessed so many children with disabilities at the testing facility where our son was diagnosed that broke my heart. Disabilities of all types and extremes. Kids that were are almost of adult age that would never be able to live alone without a caregiver. I saw a boy twice my son’s age that seemed to be struggling with many of the same symptoms. Was this his and our future? Would we still be battling this five to seven years from now after pouring so many resources into trying to help him?
On this Sunday morning this nearly life long Christian who truly believes that Jesus died for me had trouble believing Jesus loved ALL the little children.
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Jesus who rebuked his own disciples for turning away the children, how could he have allowed the little children to have to suffer with so much adversity? What about the parents that are tasked in raising special needs children? I do not feel like I am even close to an average parent and now I have even more responsibilities on my plate?
Does Jesus love my son? A boy who refuses hugs and shows very little emotion or love towards others? How could you be part of the Trinity that could possibly make him this way? If he struggles to show love, how can he he love our Savior? Will he be saved and spend eternity in heaven? I cannot even fathom these thoughts right now, but I cannot ignore them either.
I know that we should have faith and trust in our Lord. Honestly I can say that most of the time I know there’s a higher reason than I may never be privy to as to why my son has this race ahead of him.
In my mind I know that Jesus does love all the little children but it is my heart that struggles sometimes to accept this truth.
Right now I don’t have the answers as to why my son has this battle. I don’t know what I am called to do beyond putting my faith in Christ.
One thing I have learned is that I am not alone. The Bible has many examples of His loved one’s pushing back on their circumstances. For example we find the Psalm 22:1-2:
For now I will fight for my son. I am not alone. I feel at times like My God has forsaken me but I know He has not. My Savior loves my child. I know this, I just need time to FEEL that this is true.
In the meantime I will do my best to understand and have patience with my son. I will fight and pray for my doubts and for my son’s faith. It is the most important first step in our journey. I was hoping our journey was a 5k, but I think we are running a marathon.
Please pray for us and let me know in the comments how I can pray for you or your loved ones. Have you fought doubts when it comes to autism or other disabilities?