and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
though he is surrounded by light.
Take a good long look at this picture above from our church Fall Festival yesterday. Can you tell which one of these beautiful little girls has a disability?
How about this picture? Can you tell which child has special needs?
What about this one? Can you tell which of these teenagers has a chronic illness or special need?
The fact is that the vast majority of parents our ministry serves are raising children whose diagnoses simply cannot be seen with the naked eye, even if only part of the time. Some of the children in these pictures are dealing with diagnoses like anxiety disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, RAD, PTSD, spina bifida, and hemophilia. Behaviors can sometimes reveal that something is not quite right, while other times medical emergencies might expose the situation. Still, most of the time these kids are just like any other.
Which is pretty cool... Except when we parents come up against difficulties because of it.
One of the more challenging parts is one we talk about frequently -- having our parenting skills judged by others. Humans are SUCH visual creatures. Unless we have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, we often can't see that the behavioral outburst a child may be having is due to a sensory processing issue or medically induced PTSD. What some perceive as poor discipline on a parent's part is really just an autism spectrum meltdown that is a regular part of life for a weary family. Our families need TLC, compassion, and support, not judgment.
Another challenging part is that people fail to lend a helping hand because everything looks so "normal". They don't see how exhausting it can be living with someone who has ADHD, needing constant redirection. They don't see the medical battles fought with chronic illness behind closed doors. They don't feel our angst at the never-ending parade of medical bills. And because they don't see, they forget to help, they forget to volunteer for organizations like ours, they are under the false assumption that our problems are suddenly resolved.
It can all be so frustrating. Why can't we get the help we need and eliminate the false accusations we don't need?
But then there is the One who sees all. Even those things hidden in complete darkness do not escape His view. His heart is filled with the love and compassion we so desperately seek. We can flee to Him with our frustrations, and He hears us. He knows the truth about our struggles with our kids because He IS the Truth.
What I find comforting about today's verse is the fact that "He reveals deep and mysterious things..". This tells me that I need not obsess about the injustice of being unfairly judged or ignored in times of need. He will vindicate me. It will all eventually be exposed. The foolish will be shown their foolishness.
There's so much we encounter that doesn't meet the naked eye. If only people in a crowd of kids knew that as many as 16% of those standing there likely have some sort of "developmental disability", perhaps they would more positively treat and serve everyone around them.
And yet, we can delight in God's great grace. Our kids can find their place in life to fit in, while we are still blessed by a Maker who cares about our every need. That turns the frustrating into glorious.
PRAY: Maker of heaven and earth, nothing escapes Your view. Thank You that You are the Truth, Jesus. We can rest in the assurance that You know everything going on with our children, regardless of outward appearances. Help us to remember that there's always more than meets the eye, and to treat others as we wish to be treated.
~ Barb Dittrich