I’m grateful to welcome back Chris Nelson to this blog, a member at Bethlehem and a man I respect and love deeply. JPK
Andrew, 9, is the oldest of our three boys. Every cell in his body has an extra long arm of the 18th chromosome attached to the end of his 11th chromosome. He has autism. He has a seizure disorder. He is severely mentally retarded. He is easily irritable and often physically aggressive. My reactions to his often challenging behaviors daily expose my sin, which, not always immediately but at least eventually, leads me to fresh brokenness and repentance and brings me back to the Cross. That is a gift. Andrew is who he is by God’s good design and for God’s glory and for my sanctification.
One of the means of grace God has given us to help him regulate and be able to better function in social settings is a device called ConnectorRx, where one of us is physically connected to Andrew. The device looks a little like something one might use to go rock climbing (or, as someone who doesn’t rock climb, at least what I imagine such gear might look like!).
One Sunday a friend referred to my being connected to my son as “Andrew-ing.” Seemingly gifted with the ability to see the spiritual side of everything, he also remarked that seeing us connected made him think about God’s love for us in calling us to Himself and keeping us connected to Himself. I hadn’t ever thought of that – to me it was simply a device that helped us help Andrew get from A to B with some amount of self control, which helped us leave the house without an anxiety-induced stomachache. But my friend’s comment made me to ponder the spiritual lessons of that simple connector:
- God is good and He is for us, and He will give us what we need when He knows we need it.
- No matter how much we may kick and scream and wallow in the sinful desire to go our own way, God loved us first and will not let us go – He knows what is best for His children.
- God gives us more than we can handle that we might become broken over our sin, and humble ourselves and look to Him rather than ourselves that we might increasingly know at the heart-level what it is to be sorrowful (over sin) but always rejoicing (in and through Jesus).
- God is merciful to give us means of grace that encourage and help us through challenges – and even more to enable situations, circumstances and even consequences that remind us that our ultimate hope is not means of grace, but the Source of grace.