My grandson’s daycare teacher recently sent my daughter a video of my grandson. In the video, the teacher of this 2–3-year-old class was helping them sing “Jesus Loves Me”. My grandson was excitedly flapping his arms and moving, but not singing. You see, my grandson is autistic. When they got to the chorus of “Yes, Jesus Loves Me,” he threw his fist in the air and shouted, “Yes!” As my wife and I watched this video, we shed tears of happiness for this little fellow. For him, this was a huge accomplishment. He is just learning to talk and communicate.
When our grandson was diagnosed with autism, so many emotions and questions went through our heads. How? Why? We, as a family struggled, learned, and implemented different ways we have to adapt to an autistic child.
The worst problem we have dealt with is other people’s attitudes. Our grandson’s behavior isn’t always that of a normal child (whatever normal is….). Sometimes he has meltdowns, makes unexpected loud noises, and flaps his happy hands. But that’s okay! Psalm 139:13-14 tells us, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
To human thoughts, our grandson may be imperfect, but in God’s sight (and ours) he is fearfully and wonderfully made! He doesn’t fully understand the love of Jesus, but do any of us fully comprehend the love that He has for each one of us? But I know I learned an important lesson from my grandson…. to throw my hands in the air and shout “Yes!” for someone named Jesus. Who really loves both of us.
John Swonger – CBC Executive Board member