A good friend of mine, who has been such a blessing to me and my family, blessed me this week by taking me to “God’s Design for Disability”, a conference at John Piper’s church.
As many who read this know, my wife Erin and I have 2 autistic children. We have a heart to get a ministry started at the church to love and bless these families that are going through similar issues.
I was going to type all of the encouraging words John Piper and the other speakers gave. But honestly, I am still trying to digest it all. It was a lot of heavy stuff to take in one day!
But instead, I am just going to say: I cried a lot. Dang it, I am welling up now. Give me a second.
Here’s what I want to clear up: do not mistake my tears.
I was not, am not, tearing up because I saw a lot of “disabled” people (I did). Nor am I weepy because I know I am going home to my own “special needs” kids (I am).
These tears are tears of joy. Actually, they are the first fruits of the tears of joy I will have on that Day.
The Bible tells us, in Revelation 21:3-5: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
The Day is coming. Wheelchairs will be obsolete. Braces and crutches will be artifacts of a world long gone. Autism will be ancient history. Downs Syndrome will only be spoken of past tense.
Replacing it all will be wholeness. Glorious wholeness. Death and disease and disability gone forever. Pain, mourning, sleepless nights… forever gone. Replaced by the glorious wholeness of all of Christ’s people as we, and this is the best part, dwell in the glorious presence of God forever. The greatest worship service of all time, because it is never going to end.
So my tears now are just the anticipation of this. Will God wipe these tears then, or only the tears associated with us coming to the full realization that is was the brutal death of God’s Son to pay for my horrible sin? I don’t know.
So do me a favor. When the tears associated with autism well up in me, don’t feel bad for me. Don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. Please just smile and say, “Yeah, it is going to be awesome.”
p.s. - looking for a Kleenex