Linda’s eyes stared past the present as she verbalized the questions her heart had been asking for years.
“I’ve always felt guilty for my son’s Aspergers. Was it my fault? Could I have done something differently to change the outcome? Could I have caught it earlier and reduced his symptoms? Did my attitude aggregate his symptoms?”
The ladies in our small Bible study listened intently as Linda shared. Over the past few weeks, we had been exploring our faith in depth. Nothing about Aspergers was mentioned in the Bible, so could God be counted on to speak to this situation? Could we actually find God’s Word to be the answer to our problems?
Linda continued, “Our assignment this past week was to read several chapters in the gospel of John. As I read, I heard the Holy Spirit speak directly to my heart through the words of John 9:3, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.’”
Tears pooled in Linda’s eyes as she explained. “My son’s Aspergers isn’t my fault and it isn’t his fault. God revealed that to me in no uncertain terms. His Aspergers is in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. I now have a renewed sense of expectancy — waiting to see the Father unfold His plan. My heart is flooded with joy. And my joy doubled when I shared with a young woman at school whose child also has autism. The Word of God still speaks. And He speaks directly to me!”
The next morning, one of the first things on social media was this same passage. Our omni-present God was busy revealing these same words to another mother of autism, five hundred miles away. Then, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, you dear reader needed to hear these words as well. Maybe your difficultly isn’t autism, but you’ve asked these same questions. Here the Father says to you:
‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.’
Laney, mother of a son with severe autism writes: “John 9:3 is my son’s life verse. It has been my life support in the darkest and deepest caverns autism has left us. As I scrub fecal matter smeared all over my son’s enclosed bed with tears in my eyes, I find myself whispering, “so the works of God might be displayed in him.” When the school calls me once again and apologetically requests that I take my son home for the safety of all, I force the words, “so the works of God might be displayed in him.” When his peers move on, grow and develop normally, my heart hurts so badly that I think I will actually break. Yet, I grit my teeth and push out the truth once more…”so the works of God might be displayed in him.”
“But then there are glorious days when these words become so real and alive that I can hear His breath and see His veins pulsing through the pages of my Bible. The words of Christ transform into my own and I confidently testify of its truth.
“Like today, when I reflect on the miracles of the week and realize they began with Jude’s autism. This week a young girl gave her heart to Jesus. I literally watched the chains of fear fall from her as she prayed to receive Christ as her Savior. My connection to the family? Her younger sister shares Jude’s diagnosis.
“Tomorrow night I will lead worship in a local night club. All because two very unlikely people (a night club owner and me, a worship leader) were brought together by the same passion: a love for special needs children. Today is just one of those days that the promise of John 9:3 is not dragging my broken spirit along but raised as a banner at my Jesus celebration.
So, whatever it is that God is allowing to happen in your life for the “works of God to be displayed”, don’t give up. Keep reciting and chanting the phrase until you wake up one glorious morning and those words become the lyrics of the song bursting from your heart.”
May it be, O Lord — despite all circumstances, may it be.
Sometimes, we are presented by needs that are far beyond our understanding of just how to pray. A debilitating accident, a robust friend discovering cancer, a teenager who survived heart surgery with flying colors, but within days had to have a brain mass removed.
As I struggle through prayer, maybe my ramblings could be used as your own template for how to pray in a very difficult health situation. It could also apply to a friend who has lost a job or a wayward child you may know.
If you do not have a situation that is currently causing you to groan your prayer, will you join me for my friend Justin — the twelve-year-old young man mentioned above who is recovering from brain surgery? His family are missionaries, coming off the field together for his heart surgery a few weeks ago and now finding this. Justin is in much pain, having difficultly lifting his head, and recently discovered that the drain tube in his head may have to be replaced through more sedation.
There are times in prayer when I truly don’t know what to say. My mind is spinning. My emotions are reeling. And the whole situation honestly seems far bigger than either You or me. _______’s (Justin’s) situation of one of those. Somewhere in the recesses of my spirit, I know that a health situation can’t be bigger than You— You are greater than anything that is in the world (1 John 4:4). I choose to believe that with You, nothing is impossible (Mark 10:27).
I don’t know where to start with this heart prayer that is more anguish than words. I am comforted knowing that You not only are well acquainted with these kinds of prayers, but that these are the very sort into which You involve Yourself. When I don’t know what to say, You take up the intercession on my behalf (Romans 8:26). You are the very best prayer partner I could ever ask for (Romans 8:34). Thank You for that.
While Your Son was on earth, He asked two blind men, “What do you want Me to do?” (Matthew 20:32). Could it be that You would simply ask me that same question as well? “What do I want?” Well, I want ______ (Justin) to be healed — completely, fully, wholly and miraculously. That’s what I want. You said to “Ask, and it shall be given,” so I start there by simply asking that You step in and heal (Matthew 7:7).
You said that “If two of (us) agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them” (Matthew 18:19). Well, I know that there are more than two of us asking about this, so I’m sure that prerequisite is fulfilled. You said that You will accomplish whatever we ask for in Your Name in order that You may receive the glory (John 14:13). As I stand here with Jesus praying alongside me, I know that this surely counts toward that purpose. Your Word says that “mountains melt like wax at the Presence of the Lord” (Psalm 97:5), so I ask that You melt away the mountains of distress and exhaustion for this dear family.
I don’t understand what form the healing (or job search, or recovery from addition or….) will take. It could be instantaneous, but yet You may choose to allow a process. Irregardless of Your method, the _________ (Freeman) family is going to need peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Despite whatever medical professionals tell them, they are going to need a heart that is confident in You, without fear (Psalm 27:2-3). Grant them that, will You? Flood their souls with the comprehension of Your Love and fill them up with all Your goodness (Ephesians 3:18-19). Renew them daily in the spirit of their mind that they can see past the shock into the depths of the spiritual (Ephesians 4:23; 2 Corinthians 4:18). Give them rest of soul despite what they get by the bedside.
Hear the voices of those crying out on ________’s (Justin’s) behalf – be gracious to us and answer (Psalm 27:7). You have instructed us to seek Your face and so, we come to do so (Psalm 27:8). Remind us to keep on asking (Luke 18:1-8). As our feeble hearts seek, be our Help, for we have no one else to count on but You (Psalm 27:9; 121:1-2).
I’ve submitted all of these requests on Your spiritual work order just as You have asked me to do. I now push the work order across the table to You. Release the resources. Discharge the supplies. Meet the needs of this family, O Lord. Please note that this work order doesn’t have my signature, but the authority of Jesus’ Name. So be it.