For those of us with cognitively impaired children, especially those with severe impairment, we live with the question of what they can possibly know and understand about God.
I find comfort in who Jesus is, as expressed in his word.
We’ve been going through the book of John in our daily staff devotions, and have come to the great accounting of Jesus and Lazarus this week:
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:38-44
It hit me fresh – Jesus was DEEPLY moved. Jesus was not hindered by Martha’s concerns. Those in the crowd must have understood he had authority because they did, in fact, remove the stone. Jesus prayed like he already knew the outcome. Jesus was talking to a dead man. Nothing works on a dead man. Lazarus’ ears were literally decaying. The cells in his brain were entirely, permanently still.
And when Jesus spoke, the dead man came out!
Our children with severe cognitive impairment have that kind of God who cares about them.
Pastor John included the accounting of Lazarus in a great meditation from several years ago:
But let us not tell Jesus what love is. Let us not instruct him how he should love us and make us central. Let us learn from Jesus what love is and what our true well-being is. Love is doing whatever you need to do to help people see and savor the glory of God forever and ever. Love keeps God central. Because the soul was made for God.
I don’t know what my son understands about God, and he can’t tell me. But I know he was made for God’s glory. And I know the one who made him is entirely unconstrained by his lack of cognitive abilities in this present age. And how sweet it will be someday to talk and run and just look at our savior with my boy!