Today, we had the blessing of being able to go to church services at our home church in OKC. My beloved husband was home long enough from his trucking job to go with us. It was so timely that we went today. Our pastor spoke about God’s Will in our lives. One thought kept coming to my mind as I listened to the sermon. If I knew ahead of time what God’s will was for me, would I have accepted it? Or would I have fought against it?
In every person’s life, there are moments and experiences that we go through and wonder “why?” I have certainly had many of these in my 50 years of life. At the time when I was going through the experiences, I had many times questioned the purpose of it. I learned through time however that God has His own timing. While He may not bring about the hardships of our lives, He can certainly turn that experience into something good. We learn from those experiences. We grow in faith. We become more humble. How often have you gone through a rough patch only to be able to later comfort someone else going through a similar situation? The compassion and empathy you feel was gained through your own experiences.
Today, I try to look at life from the perspective of “how can I use this situation to praise God?” Our son’s autism is one example. I could very easily give in to the negative emotions of dispair and anger that our son has classic autism. But what good would that do? Would that attitude suddenly take away the autism from our son? Would it make our family life easier? Of course, the answer to those questions is “No.”
Instead, I look for God’s grace and blessing in our son. With each new step in progress, I see God’s work. When my son, who has no speech, suddenly uses sign language for the first time spontaniously, I see God’s blessing. When I see my son, pointing outon a chart his answers to questions that I ask about his school lessons, I see God’s blessings. When my son comes up to me for a hug, I feel the love of God around us.
Does this perspective take away our son’s autism? No, but it does take away the sting of his disability. It keeps hope alive that he will continue to progress.
In thinking about God’s will for our lives, here is my thoughts. I believe that a part of His will for us is to see Him in our lives. For us to know that we never travel through live alone. His spirit is always with us, guiding us and comforting us. For me, the key to recognising the Lord’s hand in my life was to stop looking at my life experiences and situations from the perspective of the world, but to seek the evidences of the Lord’s presence in our lives.
If we can stop looking at the hard times and experiences through the perspective of “why are we having to go through this?” to a perspective of “How can this experience bring glory and praise to the Lord?”, a change happens within. The focus shifts from ourselves and all the hurt and upset we are feeling. We start to focus on the Lord and His glory. As we praise Him for the little things, we share our testimony of Him to others.
It isn’t always easy to maintain this attitude. I do have days when I just want to cry when I think on what our son cannot do. Yet, I feel as though I am cheating my son each time that I allow myself to feel that way. By focusing on his limits, I am not seeing clearly his strengths and abilities that the Lord has blessed him with. In my sorrows, I rob him of the joy I should be feeling for all he is accomplishing. The Lord has blessed us greatly with our son. Though there was much said about what his limits would be when he was first diagnosed, the Lord has shown grace on him and our son is making progress ahead of when he was expected to. Seeing all that he is able to do, how can I allow myself to grieve what he cannot do?
God’s will for our son is just as precious as it is for anyone. No matter what level of progress he ultimately makes, God is in control and has a mission for our son’s life. He has a plan for our family. While we may not have chosen to have an autistic son, the Lord saw fit to allow that to come to pass. I don’t believe that God caused our son’s autism, but I do know in my heart that He can use our son as a testimony of His grace.