Monday, May 16, 2011

Are We Tuned In?

As Christians, God has given us the responsibility to stay tuned in to the needs of others. I have to admit that I have grossly missed the mark in this area. My primary concern in life has been for me and mine. I have seldom looked beyond that.

Yes, I have done some of the nominal things that Christians should do. I have gone on missions trips to help repair church facilities. I have given to missions. I have prepared a few Disaster Care Kits to help those in Crises. But all of these things have fallen within my comfort zone, and I have not done nearly enough. I would say that I am the typical Christian going to the typical church. I have always assigned the things I don't like to do to someone else. I haven't really been tuned in.

I have a niece, who was adopted as a baby by my brother and his wife about twelve years ago. Little did they know when they adopted her that she was autistic. She appeared normal until they realized that she was not doing things that normal children should be doing. Rachel looks like any other normal kid and has the same desires as your kids and mine (my grandchildren). But her disease has greatly hindered her social development. She does not know how to related to others, carry on a conversation, and be a friend. The yearning of her heart, though is to have friends, even if it is just one friend. This is a tall order because the friend would have to realize that Rachel does not have the ability to be a friend in the mutual sense. This means that they may have to give themselves to her in such a way that she cannot give back.

In addition to her autism and related to her autism are a host of physical problems that most kids will never experience. She is in constant pain and has issues that the medical community has not been able to resolve.

Rachel is a person. I believe that God loves her very much. He is no respecter of persons and there is a purpose for her life. I cannot even venture to say what that purpose is. But she has pretty much fallen through the cracks of society. She is lonesome and has no friends. Society, her family (me), and her church have not tuned into her. And she is not alone in this. There are other kids a lot like her who are very alone.

I am being awakened by her need. I believe churches and Christians everywhere need to be awakened. But not only awakened but stirred to action. Not only because God commands us to do so.... but because we genuinely care. One out of every 150 babies born are now autistic. There will be more and more Rachels in this world. As Christians, Churches, other organizations, and as decent human beings, what are we going to do about it?

I know that I can't become Rachel's age and become the type of friend she needs. But I will pray for her until such a friend is found. If God can speak to us as adults, He can also speak to our children and give them wisdom and understanding. Being a friend may be the best ministry they will ever perform.

My purpose in this blog is not to shame us (although I feel ashamed). It is not to condemn us or the church. My purpose is to make us aware of this acute need, and to stir us to open our hearts to allow the Holy Spirit speak to us. Then, as we listen to God, we take action.

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