My husband and I are doing a bible study plan together. A recent reading was on the story of Job.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Job was a very wealthy man that was blameless before the Lord. He feared God and stayed away from evil. One day during a conversation with Satan, the Lord agreed to allow Satan to test Job. As a result, several calamities came upon Job within a short period of time. His children died, he lost his wealth, and he became very sick with painful boils from head to toe. Job was in great despair and had a hard time figuring out why this was happening to him.
Job’s three friends, Zophar, Eliphaz, and Bildad, all decided to visit him after they heard about everything that had happened to Job. After keeping their silence for seven days and nights, the friends decided to try and “comfort” Job and explain why he was experiencing such a difficult time.
- Bildad: “Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved.” Job 8:4 NLT
- Zophar – “God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!” Job 11:6 NLT
- Eliphaz –“Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception.” Job 15:5 NLT
Some words of comfort, huh? They thought that they were helping, but actually, they were doing more harm than good. Job didn’t hold his tongue in response to them, saying “you smear me with lies” in Job 13:4 NLT and calling them “miserable comforters” in Job 16:2 NLT.
After we finished the study, Dear Hubby and I started reminiscing about some of the things people said to us before, during, and after Little Man was diagnosed with Autism. We’ve heard some very hurtful and ignorant statements, such as:
- “You had too much pride and arrogance and God needed to take you down a few notches.”
- “You didn’t pray hard enough.”
- “What are you going to do with him once he gets out of school? Are you going to put him in a group home?”
- “You should spank him.”
- “He’ll grow out of it.”
- “Why are you giving up your career?”
- “Why are you wasting all that time and money on therapies?”
- “Ain’t nothing wrong with that boy!”
- “Don’t claim Autism and don’t tell people he has Autism.”
And just like Job, we were deeply hurt by these statements made about our child that passively blamed us for his medical disorder.
Now Job’s friends did have one thing right … at least they saw that he was in need and came to help. But please know this. If you have a friend or family member that is going through a rough time, please don’t feel like you have to come up with the reason for their struggle. Sometimes there just isn’t an answer for every situation that we face in life. We just have to trust God that He is in control and He has a purpose for everything that we go through.
In the end, after Job prayed for his friends, the Lord blessed him with double for his trouble!
So you know what?
I’m not going to focus on why my son has Autism and I’m not going to let anyone else do that for me either. Focusing on the why won’t change anything.
What I will focus on is claiming victory over Autism and doing everything I can to help him achieve great things and be a productive member of society.
What I will meditate on is God’s word, which tells me:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT