Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Mystery Inside the Non-Verbal Wrapper

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 12:7 - 10 (NLT)

I've often wondered about my son's spiritual life. What does he understand? Who is God to him? 

Before autism, I had clear dreams of sharing life and faith with our children and helping them to develop in every way. The statement about Jesus by Luke "He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man," was (and still is) very close to my heart. I imagined the youth leaders and missionaries for God that I was going to send out from the family nest.

Non-verbal autism seemed to create a soundproof opaque box around my son. I just didn't know what was happening in his heart. Who is he in that box, and was God in there with him? My faith journey around his spiritual life has had more questions than answers, with only slight glimmers and indications that I can understand. But I have to believe that the scriptures that are true for me are also true for him. So the Lord is J's shepherd, and he lacks nothing. He is led through paths of righteousness for the sake of the Eternal One's name. His rod and His staff comfort my son.

We have recently begun using an augmentative communication technique with J and sometimes he is able to communicate a profound thought with me. Yesterday, I shared briefly that God's presence is a treasure in a jar container and that clay was something that was easy to break. I asked him what he thought about that and he typed, "God lives in bodies that don't always behave well." What could I add to that? 

The mystery of Christ in us is true, and available to all bodies, regardless of how well they are able to behave. God acknowledged the vulnerable, temporary nature of the human frame and still chooses it as His habitation. I still don't have answers to how it works, how God connects with my son and what their communion is like. But He knows. And I know that I can trust Him with my son's body, heart, and spirit, now and forever.

Lord, Thank you for the gift of, and challenge to, faith that our children offer us daily. Thanks for the reminder that you are the author of all spiritual life and you live in and commune with our children. We offer them to you again today and trust you with them, body, mind, and spirit.  We pray that they would grow in wisdom, in stature, in favor with you and with the people around them. 

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