When my son was not quite two years old he was diagnosed with autism. I will never forget that doctor visit and the sterile-sounding words the physician spoke. The dream I held for my son’s future stopped in that moment. I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach; unable to breathe.
I was angry at God for a very long time. I blamed Him for this seemingly unfair situation. I turned away from Him because I was convinced that He abandoned my son by giving him this incurable disease.
It has taken me years to realize that God didn’t do this TO my son. God has allowed it, yes, but He did not cause autism in my son’s life. It seems almost blasphemous to say, but I had to work through forgiving God for allowing this. God knew I would react the way I did, and He loved me despite it all. I believe He was, and still is, using the challenges my son faces to mold me into the vessel of His design. He is using the struggles we have with autism to teach me how to help others in similar situations.
Don’t get me wrong, I pray regularly that my son be healed from autism. I ask God to open my son’s mouth to speak and his mind to think and understand. I pray that my son will always be safe. Sometimes I forget to pray and fear creeps in. I panic. Then Jeremiah 29:11 comes to my mind: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. I am filled with comfort by these words because I know they are truth spoken by my God.
I do not believe that this Scripture verse is saying my life with an autistic son will be without struggles. Rather, I believe this verse is saying that DESPITE the struggle’s autism can bring God HAS a plan for me and for my son. God’s plan is for a prosperous and hope-filled future. I do not know the specifics of that future; the “when” or the “where”, but I know God’s Word is truth. And because He says that He “knows the plans” He has for me, I do not have to worry. God’s got this.
“Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have a plan for my life. Thank You that Your Word says You will prosper me and not harm me. Thank You, Lord, for the hope which comes from You alone. God, I thank You for all You have taught me and all You have yet to teach me. I pray that You will continue to mold me and make me into the person You have created me to be. I ask that You use me in the lives of others and I thank You for that. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”
Kami R. Lobner