The post a few weeks ago on the special needs page I follow was short and to the point, but it broke my heart in two. Because I understood — at least in part. It read, “A friend of mine took in a 6 year old with autism last night, and he was up half the night screaming and wouldn’t eat anything she gave him. She has no information on him as he is a foster child. Anyone have suggestions on…” and she laid out a few questions for the group that might help her friend and this young boy. Most folks with autism thrive on routine, and in that moment I could only imagine how traumatized this little fellow was to be thrown into a strange situation — not fully understanding why — and what his family was dealing with at the moment for him to have to be moved. So I began to pray for him.
This touched me deeply because my (step)son, who is eight years old, also has autism. I understand the need for him to follow a fairly strict routine. I understand having my boy up half the night screaming. I understand times when he has refused to eat (and that there are only a few things that would even be on his menu). I understand becoming “mom” overnight when this child doesn’t really know why. But I cannot begin to imagine doing all this without a running start, not knowing anything about habits, what calms this particular boy, what stimulates him, who he is. So I began to pray for the woman who is taking care of this little boy.
As I am writing this story out this morning, I started thinking about all the other people who are affected by this — his parents, any siblings, the teacher at school and his classmates — and my heart has broken a little bit more. Cases like this rarely impact only a few people, and the ripples are wide and far reaching. So I began to pray for them, too.
Thoughts of this boy have surfaced so often since I learned about his situation, so I continue to pray. Although I don’t even know his name, I know the One who does, and I know that God loves him, his caretaker, and his family more than I could ever imagine.
Do you realize how much of a privilege it is to bring those around us to the Lord in prayer? Even strangers. And to be confident that God knows best how to take care of them — of all of us. Even a little six year old who simply needs to be loved and understood. Be encouraged to pray — for those you know, and those you don’t.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18