Monday, July 28, 2014

Search and Rescue

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"So now they live in frightening ravines, in caves and among the rocks." (Job 30:6, NLT)

He is standing at the foot of the cave peering into the darkness. He can’t see what lies ahead of him in the cave. All he knows is that it's beckoning him, taunting him, and seductively luring him to enter.

I’ve been to that same cave where he now lingers. I’ve felt its cold walls and I’ve wandered through its stalagmites of fear, despair, and loneliness.

He didn’t even know that this cave existed until four months ago. Now, he’s thinking of taking up residence inside its isolated, depressing caverns.

He’s standing at the gaping mouth of the cave called Autism.

The flight instincts inside of him whisper in his ear.  The allure of the cave is almost irresistible.

Just four months ago his child was diagnosed with autism. Long conversations at night with “Dr. Google” resulted. The toll on his family is inescapable.

And it’s draining them- body, soul, and mind.

They are crushed, overwhelmed, and weary. Relationally, spiritually, and emotionally -- they are dying. They have no friends or family in the area who understand, or even have a glimpse of what their lives is like.

That’s why the cave is so appealing.

We met for the first time just a couple of weeks ago in my office. I showed him the scars I personally had collected form my own time in the cave. I shared my own wounds, my own experiences, my own memories, and my own warnings about going to the cave.

The following night I invited him to join me and several other special-needs dads at our favorite hangout. (Chicken wings and onion rings soothe the soul.)

In time, we will begin to show him the map to get out of the cave. More importantly, we will introduce him to the Guide we found in the cave who led each of us out of the pit, and put a new song in our mouth.

But right now, he just needs to know a couple of things in order to survive. He just needs to see that he is not alone. He needs to see that there is an entire band of brothers who have each other’s back, and who wage war against autism together. 

He needs to see that there is community. He needs to see that there is a place for him. He needs to see that life goes on and you survive to fight again the next day.

Imagine his surprise in a few years when he realizes God has, in fact, given him a rare masterpiece. His child with special needs will become his greatest gift and a most remarkable and valued treasure. He doesn’t see it now because he is still focusing on the packaging instead of the gift inside.

Search and rescue.

That’s what he needs, and that’s what we are doing for him right now.

Once you, as a parent of a child with special needs, leave the cave, you have an obligation to keep returning to the cave with the Guide, and helping others find their way out of the cave as well.

Search and rescue.

In John 5 there is a beautiful account of a man who had been lame for 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda. He has a personal encounter with Jesus, and as a result, finds his healing.

A beautiful, moving story indeed.  But I’m haunted by one question every time I read that story in scripture.

Did the man ever go back to the pool? Did he ever go back to the pool and tell all the others there seeking healing where they could find the man who had healed them?

My son still has autism.  That hasn't changed.  But God has used him and his life to rescue me.  God hasn't healed my son.

Instead, he has used my son to heal me.

Christ stepped out of heaven, transcended space and time, and came looking for me.  I didn't find Jesus.  He found me.

He wasn't the one lost in the cave. I was the lost one.

Search and rescue. 

Go back to pool my friends. Go back to the cave and search for survivors. Go back and tell them of the One who can bring healing to their souls.  

PRAY- "Father thank you for searching for us in each of our own personal caves. Thank you for sending Jesus to do search and rescue. We were lost, and he left heaven to come look for us. Thank you for everlasting love!" 

--Jeff Davidson


  1. Thank you for this, Jeff. My husband and I are 19 year veterans of 'the cave' and facilitating a mom's support group for many of those years has been one of my greatest joys. Parents of special needs children are among the best people you'll ever meet. There is a quote that goes something like this, " Being a parent of a special needs child doesn't take a special kind of parent, it MAKES you into a special kind of parent." So true! Take heart, newly diagnosed parents of SN kids. To again borrow a phrase, "It will be the toughest job you'll ever LOVE" and it will shape you into a beautiful person you didn't even know you could be.

    1. Great words Shellyb! It's awesome to hear your passion for your mom's support group! Keep up the great work, and thanks for the great comments.