A few days ago, I read a blog post that asked the question, “Why did God give me a child with special needs?” Good question. I’ve asked that many times myself, thought I had the answer, and then asked again. Rather than going into a commentary on what the blog author wrote (because that’s not really the point of this post), I wanted to take the opportunity to share how God answered this question for me. It is an answer that should put an end to all doubt, speculations, regrets, blame-shifting, and uncertainty.
The answer is found in John 9, the account of the man born blind, then healed by Jesus. Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (v. 2). Have I not ventured into the same kind of futile speculations concerning my son? Was he like this from birth or was there some external cause? Was it failures from inexperienced parenting? Is it because of my own sins? Was it too much TV? Was it the food he ate? The list is endless.
The Lord’s reply was amazing because in His words, I have found the comfort, peace, and assurance that I have been searching for. This is where the list of questions abruptly come to a halt. “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (v. 3). And what are those works? Are they something in the distant future that I must wait for? Perhaps one day, our little boy, who once struggled putting a simple sentence together, will be preaching to hundreds about the sufficiency of Christ or even sharing with someone, who has been beat down by trials, the joy of knowing Jesus. God has plans for Gabriel and our family that are yet to be revealed, and for those, we wait with eager anticipation, resting in the truth that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
However, God is also displaying His works in Gabriel now, and we can rejoice in those things now. The amazing improvement in speech that we have observed, even without a speech therapist … that is God! The acknowledgment of our utter dependence on The Lord as we pray for our son … that is God! The proclamation of His power as we testify of His answers to those prayers … that is God! The people who have been touched by our son’s sweet affection and enthusiasm for the simple joys in life … that is God! The model of tender love made manifest as the heavenly Father parents His special-needs children, us … that is God!
God has ordained specific works to display in and through our son’s life. What an amazing privilege we have to witness those works!
(Photo credit: Rachel Ford James)