I know what caused my son’s autism.
It wasn’t allergies. It wasn’t pollution or pesticides. It wasn’t vaccines, and it certainly wasn’t lack of social and emotional interaction. Nope. When it comes right down to it, the reason Luke has autism is that it is God’s plan for us.
I also know that God didn’t give my child autism because He doesn’t love me or my child. He didn’t do it to cause us grief and pain. He didn’t make a mistake and He wasn’t powerless to stop it. He did it “that the works of God might be displayed” in my son and in our family. (John 9:3)
While I will never know the full extent of God’s plan for my child’s disability this side of Heaven, God has been pleased to give me a glimpse of His vision, and that glimpse looks like my other son, the Sandman.
I like to imagine that around the time God was at work knitting Luke together in my womb, He leaned over to one of the angels and said, “I think I’m going to make this one a little extra special.”
“Why?” asked the angel.
“Well,” the Lord replied, “in a while I plan to knit together another of my chosen children, and he will be Luke’s brother, and this little extra special-ness I’m giving to Luke is how I’m going to bring them together.”
“But how will this bring them together?” the angel asked.
“It will take some time,” the Lord answered. “They won’t see My hand at first, so they will struggle with grief and fear. They will worry about having more children and think that perhaps one day, they will adopt, but dismiss the idea of foster care because it feels too risky. But I won’t leave them, and in time those feelings of grief and fear will grow into resilience and courage.”
He continued. “And then, right around the time the Sandman comes into the world, I will remind them that they once considered adoption, and that very Sunday their church will offer foster care classes, and they won’t be afraid anymore.”
I love the song “Oceans” so much that I often wear a pendant around my neck that reads, “take me deeper than my feet would ever wander” and when I look at my son, Luke, I often think of that line.
Luke, and his disability, are deeper than I would have ever wandered.
Foster care is deeper than I would have wandered, but in retrospect, I can’t say I would want it any other way.
When Nick and I were first married, I dreamed of our family photo having four perfect little blond rays of sunshine in it. I do have four little rays of sunshine, but they aren’t all perfect and they certainly aren’t all blond. Instead, when I look at God’s masterpiece that is our family today, I see where there was disability and brokenness, and where God displayed his works of healing and redemption and perseverance.
Our family portrait isn’t what I imagined it would be. It’s so much better.
So, whatever the disability or hardship you are facing, in whichever way God is taking you deeper than you would ever wander, be it in this life or the next (or both), trust that works of God will be displayed, and you will one day agree with God, that He made a masterpiece.