‘Where is God, Mom? I can’t see Him…” I’ve heard this when Jordon was young, and yet at age 20 it still disturbs him. And it distresses me, too, to hear this, for the greatest desire of my heart for Jordon is for him to be able to relate to the God who created him for relationship and with great purpose.
I have often referred to autism as the great magnifier, for whatever we typically experience as individuals tends to become expanded in the lives and perspectives of those who have autism. Jordon is no exception. As we all do, he relies upon his five senses to give him information to guide him. He relies heavily, and he relies solely upon them. His is a black-and-white type of world, and he has difficulty in accepting what he cannot see, or taste, touch, smell or hear.
So I tell him to feel his breath. When God created Adam, He breathed His very breath into him, and he became alive. That breath is passed down every time a child is born and takes its first breath. We are carrier of the breath of God in our own body. God cannot get even closer to us – to him!
But, how, Lord, can he see You, the greatness and majesty of the Unseen One? How can he relate to you? Please reveal Yourself to him in tangible ways and develop his spiritual senses.
“Where am I evident on earth, Cindy? I am displayed in all of nature, and felt in flesh and blood through My children.”
Please magnify Yourself through my life and the lives of those who relate to Jordon, Lord, so He can have a tangible and concrete knowing of You.
And so God answers. He has moved upon several in our church who have sought out Jordon and been Jesus to him – accepting him, hugging him, feeding him (definitely a path to his heart), leading by example. And so Jordon experiences the touch and love of God in very tangible ways. They are Jesus on display, exhibited and magnified in the flesh.
And God, the Great Magnifier, also does His revealing work when we arrive at Joni and Friends camp. He becomes visible from the moment we drive on the campground as people gather to cheer our arrival. He is evidenced in the open acceptance of the buddy prayerfully assigned to be with him throughout the week. What may be merely ‘tolerance’ felt elsewhere, is experienced as love and acceptance and permeates each interaction – a tasting, hearing, smelling, seeing, and feeling of a bit of Heaven on earth.
When we go to Joni and Friends family camp, it truly is like Heaven on earth. He is not just tolerated, not just accepted, but he is embraced as one who can also offer something of value to the Body of Christ. He is known for his strengths, his gifts, and can feel the image of God within himself as he is valued. He is needed. He is loved. We all come aware of our brokenness and we are all on even ground. Acceptance is freely offered, gratefully received. Wholeness is discovered in our brokenness. A taste of Heaven on earth. And such grieving Jordon experiences as we return to ‘the real world.’
Statistics reveal that one in 68 people have a form of autism, so Jordon is not alone in his need to ‘see’ Jesus and be touched by Him. Those with autism greatly magnify what we all need – to experience Jesus with skin on. And so the challenge goes out to each of us.
How can we reveal the God-made-flesh today?
If you’d like more info re Joni and Friends, please go to www.joniandfriends.org