The news from Philadelphia is a nightmare for any parent with a child with a severe cognitive impairment.
Three people were arrested in Philadelphia for imprisoning and neglecting four adults with cognitive impairments. The three people are accused of locking these disabled adults in a subbasement of a building, without lights or access to a toilet.
The cruelty is breathtaking.
My oldest son is even more vulnerable than those four adults. He will always be vulnerable. I read stories like that and fear about the future rises – what will happen when I can’t take care of him any longer?
As God orchestrates things, on Tuesday evening I was in the church affiliated with my children’s school and passed by that church’s regular Tuesday night gathering of adults with special needs, most of them with cognitive disabilities.
But I didn’t watch the participants much; I watched their leaders and volunteers.
They were happy and engaged. I observed for just a few minutes, but I didn’t see anyone exhibiting anything but delight – no impatient body language, no outward signs of reluctant obligation, no syrupy, overly-cheerful infantile voices. The worship leader was WORSHIPPING. And those adults who could, were worshipping with him.
I don’t know anything about that group – maybe they were all family members or paid staff and this was just how they spend every-other Tuesday with their disabled church members.
But in contrast to that horrific news story, I was watching the body minister to and be ministered by adults with cognitive disabilities in some special, God-honoring ways.
My son might outlive me; we have no idea what Paul’s lifespan is and no doctor has ever even offered a guess. But he won’t outlive the one who created him. He will always have a perfect Father to care for him. That doesn’t mean evil won’t ever touch him. But it does mean God knows what he is doing for his glory and my son’s eternal good.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
I like to think my few minutes on Tuesday night was a gift for me, a reminder from God that he loves his church with a white-hot, all-encompassing, joyful passion that will never fade. And my boy is part of that Church.