Autism and the Bible
The word autism is not mentioned in the Bible but, like so many things in life, the Bible seems to have something to say about it anyway. Think first about the symptoms of autism. To me, the most tragic part of autism is that I would love to comfort a child with autism, but he won't let me. The more I pull the child close to me, the more he pushes away. I try to communicate but she doesn't hear me. I try to teach her but she will not learn. Isn't this like our relationship to God?
God said through the prophet Isaiah: "Go and tell this people, Hear, but understand not; and see, but do not apprehend with your mind." (Isaiah 6:9). During this time the people of Israel would not listen to God or His prophets. He continually spoke to them but they would not hear. God sent many prophets who used many different methods to speak to them but try as they might, Israel would not listen. They had working ears but would not or could not hear. How like autism! Is this a taste of how God feels when dealing with us? Wouldn't you do anything to just get through to a person with autism? God will do anything to get you to listen to Him!
God said in the book of Matthew: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not!" (Matthew 23:37). The picture is God stretching out His hands to us to embrace us, but we reject Him. How like autism! God would love to hold us but we, like children with autism, push away from Him. He comes to us but we run from Him. We just do not understand how loving God is because we are incapable. He does not give up easily. He sent prophet after prophet, messenger after messenger, and finally, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our Messiah, our Savior!
The desire to get inside the mind of a person with autism is the wish of many who deal with such children. We think that if we could just see the world the way they do, hear what they hear, experience life from their perspective, then we could understand and help them. God had the same problem with us. Nothing He did seemed to get through to us. Psalm 103:13-14 says, "Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are only dust." God knew that the only way to get through to us would be to become one of us. Therefore, He sent His Son, "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phillipians 2:6-8). As a man, Jesus could understand our weaknesses and overcome them with faith. When we call on Him for help, it is not to some far-off God who doesn't understand what it is like to live in the real world, but we are calling on a God who walked where we walked, cried over the things that make us cry, laughed at the things that make us laugh, and sorrowed over the pains of this world as we do. Jesus knows autism. Jesus knows the pain you feel and He has the answer. Trust Jesus with your pain, your problems, your child's autism, and any other thing that is too big for you to handle alone. Remember: "For God so loved the world, that he sent His only begotten Son, that whosover believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). May the Lord richly bless you and may you find the Life that leads to true Joy, Peace, and Happiness!
Note: No example is perfect. Having autism is not the same as our decision not to seek God. People who have autism do not have it by choice. This example is not meant to equate autism with our spiritual condition but to help us all relate to the plight of autism and to lead those who desire it, to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.