June 25, 2019
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you’” (John 17:1, ESV).
William carries the diagnosis of autism. He is a handsome and strong young man whose family loves the Lord. I have been praying daily for William, but my prayers may not have been correct. A few years ago, when William was much younger, his family was gathered with all eight of William’s siblings and cousins. As usual, there was vigorous activity throughout the house. Then someone noticed that William was missing. A complete search of the house failed to find him, people were frantic, 911 was called, and then Reyn, William’s 5-year-old cousin, spoke up, “Don’t you think we should pray for William?” Of course, they stopped and prayed to the God who loves William even more than they. The search continued. Finally, the police called. William had wandered into the street and been picked up by a responsible couple. William returned home, and everyone rejoiced. And then young Reyn reminded the family, “Don’t you think we should thank God?”
My prayer life is not always in line with God’s will. For example, when I pray for those who are injured, disabled or broken by life’s circumstances, my prayers are usually, “Help them to be released from their struggle,” or, “Give them strength to endure their struggle.”
Nothing is wrong with such prayers, for they flow naturally from love. Such prayer is good, but it is also incomplete.
My prayer for William and his autism has been, “Help him find peace and joy in this life, in spite of his autism.” But God has a much bigger plan for William, and my prayers should be part of it.
Through William’s experience described above, God was glorified through his autism.
When those families were looking for William, they were reminded by his young cousin, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV). When William was found, they were reminded, again by a child, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Psalm 118:1, ESV). And recently our whole church was reminded of God’s presence and power when his grandmother shared this story. God used William’s area of weakness to shine forth His glory.
This should be part of my prayer for those who are struggling. Not only should my love for them cry out for their deliverance, but my love for them should also cry out for God’s glory to shine through their struggle.
Thank you, William, for teaching me how to pray.
Bless those who struggle on this earth and let Your glory shine through their struggle.