We Cannot Handle a Son with Autism

My husband and I have heard this a million times: “God knew you could handle it”.

We have an autistic son. Often times people feel “bad” for us: compassion, of a kind, and empathy. In an effort to make sense of the situation, in their minds, they try to comfort us (and convince themselves) by telling us that God knew, in advance, that we could handle it. By implication, this means that He saw something unique in our make up that would better equip us to live with and raise a person with disabilities. As if God scanned through the earth and found the perfect parents for this wonderful angel that would be born, and bestowed on us the well-deserved gift, because, after all, He knew we could handle it.

False.

You see, there is nothing intrinsically better about parents of children with disabilities. We are not superior in any kind of way. We are not more able to bear a burden or to handle difficulty. We are average folk. We are needy people, just like everyone else.

Furthermore, God did not gift us with an autistic child because He knew we could handle it. In fact, He knew we couldn’t handle it. But in HIS goodness, He also gave us (and continues to give us) the love, strength, passion, and determination to care for our son.

However, God DID know this: We would turn into better human beings by having our son in our lives. We would learn to love better, we would grow into more compassionate, understanding people, and we would come to appreciate the smaller things in life.

We are blessed by our Gabriel. Having him as part of our family is a joy and a privilege, and we humbly accept God’s will for his and our lives, not because we are better, but because we are HIS.

Psalm 29:11: “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”

Juan and Gabriel