There are times when God doesn’t heal. There are people who will only be healed when they are in Heaven. I am reminded of that as I sit in church and listen to a family praising God for healing their child of autism. They were getting ready to go on an AIM (Associates in Missions) trip and their child was diagnosed with autism. “I can’t imagine taking him overseas with us,” they say. “We brought him up to the altar to be prayed for time and time again.” And I recall our own lives, seven years ago when we got the diagnosis and prayed for our child to be healed of autism. I remember how, six months later we took our three year old to Nigeria on an AIM trip despite the admonition of all of his therapists.
The evangelist continues with the story, “God healed our two year old of autism. A doctor has confirmed it. He said it was a miracle! He used to wear ear muffs and look at him now!” As the sanctuary erupts in the shouts and praises of the saints, I think of my child, enjoying the service from behind the glass in the media room with his noise-cancelling headphones firmly in place on his head.
Healing wasn’t the path God chose for us. It wasn’t too long after we got the diagnosis of autism that God spoke to us and said we should stop praying for healing. He reassured us our child was made exactly as He intended. This was confirmed through three different people in the same month.
I am brought back to the church service and reality as we start to sing, “My God is awesome . . . Deliverer, Healer, He’s holy, He’s great . . . He can move mountains.” And even though I wonder why He didn’t remove our specific mountain, I continue to sing out in praise to an awesome God. I can honestly say He is still my deliverer and healer. Even though we are on a path that we would never choose, I can still say that God is good and even great.
As I raise my hands in honor to the God who is able, the next stanza holds my attention, “keeps me in the valley, hides me from the rain” and I realize that there is where I am at times. In the valley but hidden from the storm. Protected by the almighty hand of God. Safe and secure.
ABLE Ministry is a complicated world. We stand, worshiping the God who can do it all. Some of us never give up and pray unceasingly. Some celebrate the gift God has given them and would never choose another life. And others, like me, fluctuate between despair and joy. This newsletter is an attempt to celebrate the journey and conflict that exists in the world of families that are affected by disability.
Written by: Stephanie Gossard. She attends New Life St. Louis in Bridgeton, Missouri, and is ABLE Ministry’s content manager.