Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Autism Awareness Month 4/10 - Jason - Blogger

The goal of the Autism Awareness Month project is to expose our community to new or under represented voices in our community. I put up the call for submissions with simply this question: "what does autism mean to me?"

Some of the bloggers submissions, however, were given an assignment (or at least a topic) that I felt were important to share.

Jason Hague is a blogger I know. This is the bio he provided me:

I am a dad, husband, pastor, and storyteller. I wrestle with my faith, my kids, and sometimes even with God, especially when it come to my son's autism. I talk about it all, as honestly as I can, at

I asked Jason if he would write a guest blog for me about his relationship with Jesus and Jackson. How do the faithful remain so? How about for your son? How about for me? And his answer is truly, truly immaculate.

I am extremely honored to present Mr. Jason Hague. Dad, husband, pastor, storyteller... and friend.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my friend, Mr. Jason Hague...

Jesus, Autism, and Why I Still Believe

The Christian faith is a lousy force field. Some of us think we can hide inside of it like it’s a super sleek Jesus bubble that locks in the happy times and repels sadness. We think it will keep the lights glowing and the fires crackling inside our little Thomas Kinkade lives, and nothing can breach it. We teach our kids to sing, “I’m inside, outside, upside, downside happy all the time” since we found Jesus. And if they grow up with a shred of motivation, they might just sue us for religious malpractice, because it’s a lie. We are living neck deep in the stink of life just like everyone else.

Oh, we try to deny it. When someone asks us how we’re doing in church, we have a script for that:

“I’m fine, thanks!”

Because we’re all fine. Everything’s great, because we have Jesus, and we’re just… so… great.

It must look staggeringly silly to everyone else. But then, denial is always easy to spot from the outside.

When my son Jackson was diagnosed with moderate autism at three, my wife and I were already in the middle of crisis—the first real one of my life, probably. My newborn son had just gone through open heart surgery, and a dear family friend was losing a battle to breast cancer. My Jesus shield was already caving in on me, and now this.

I was not fine.

Jackson’s autism had come late. He lost his vocabulary and his attention span when he was two. He moved into a haze. We did everything we could to pull him out. We took him to a great ABA school, we changed his diet, we tried therapies and supplements, and we learned to engage him as best we could. There would be months of promising growth. But then, invariably, he would lose it all. It might even happen in a single day. All his gains, gone.

This happened for two straight years. Progress and regression. Progress and regression.

Today, at age seven, Jackson is the sweetest, happiest most joyful child you’ll ever see. His laugh is crazy infectious, and our entire community loves him almost as much as we do. Still, the regressions have held him back, and we don’t have answers. His condition has been upgraded from “moderate” to “severe.” He doesn’t talk except to ask for things he wants: Cookie. Outside. Movie. There is no conversation, and very little sustained personal connection. His OCD is almost Adrian Monk-like, and he has no reservations about running into traffic.

My force field popped a long time ago, and I no longer care who knows. For my son’s brokenness, I am broken.

I tried being mad at God for not answering my prayers, but I was never able to pull it off. Not with any intellectual honesty. I just don’t believe that He micromanages the universe. Is he really causing every conversation and coffee spill? Every murder? Every disorder? I don’t buy it.

When Jesus walked the earth, He said told people, “You want to know what God looks like? He looks like me.” I can’t imagine Jesus making my son run out into traffic, or taking away relational faculties. No, He looked out for children. He even let them interrupt his sermons. “You’re going to have to be like them if you want to see my kingdom,” He told the crowds. And He offered the sternest warnings to those who might hurt them.

That is why I still pray. Because I believe in this God, who desires only good things for my precious boy. And even when I’m buried in tantrums and regressions, even when Jackson cannot, for whatever reason, find my eyes, I still have hope that God will break through and somehow, in some way, bring newness. It happens all the time in subtle ways: the angst in Jack’s scream will subside; our despair will lighten. He feels peace. We know comfort.

 I believe with all my heart that one day, we will see complete newness. Every injustice we see in our world will be set to right, including the injustice of autism. The last will be first. The least will become the greatest.

I don’t know whether Jackson will be fully restored in this life or the next, but he will be restored. It will happen. That means my son and others like him—the ones who, for centuries have been forgotten, bullied, mocked, and thrown away—they will be heralded like Kings and Queens, and celebrated like rockstars.

Ed. Note - Amen, my friend. Amen.


  1. Well written piece good sir.

  2. Well said Pastor!! Hang onto you Hope and Faith...little Jackson can be delivered and Healed!!!
    Society and doctors may not have the answers for our children But Our God does...and through Him Autism will be conquered!! He has the cure.

    1. Very well written thank you for writing that. Gene and i appreciate it and agree. we deal with some of the same things. God is good He gets us through every moment. Keep the faith...

  3. This speaks to me in so many ways. My son on the spectrum is coming into his faith and with his very black and white thinking ...we end up having some very interesting conversations. I am a believer in God and in Jesus -but I don't believe that Christianity is the "only" way to God. Only God can judge us and he does not micro manage our lives. Being Christian does not make us perfect. It just means that we are trying.

    1. We are trying, and I think He honors that. Thanks, Karen.

  4. Amen and amen. This situation was extremely similar to the one my wife and I faced. Instead of open heart surgery, we had a daughter born at 25 weeks who did not make it and 4 months later B got his diagnosis. I just wanted to share the way we look at our situation. I tried to fit it into my post but there was not enough room. The Book of Matthew (Red Forman/NCIS Edition), we are told that "I make sure that the birds of the air and the creatures of the ground are fed. I am not going to forget about taking care of you, dumbass [head slap]." obviously this is a paraphrase, but the reminder helps us get though those days we all know far too well. Good luck Jason and Family.

    1. I would LOVE to read more from the Red Forman translation! I'm pretty sure God has called me a dumbass on at least 5 separate occasions :) Thanks for the well wishes, Andy. I send my own to you and your family.

  5. Jason, your post nailed it..."it" being our thoughts and our journey with our 24 year old son, Adam, whom we adopted. I had a well-meaning Christan lady tell me shortly after Adam was diagnosed at age 3 that Larry and I needed to plead the blood of Jesus over Adam in order for the autism to leave his body. How confusing for a new Christian like I was at the time! I have been journeying down memory lane during the month of April and each weekend I post a note to Facebook to chronicle some of those lessons learned from our journey. Your post will be going up on my wall tonight, friend. Thank you for your transparency.

  6. I want to say that I love your post. However, I do struggle with the restoration. I believe that restoration happens in the newness you talk about. The briefest eye contact where Love and Light show through, a shared giggle, a new triumph. Restoration...does that take the Autism (and for us Down syndrome, too) away? My struggle is there. Here. Take away the Down syndrome and autism and is that really my son? Didn't God create my son in His image? Perfect and imperfect just as Jesus was. Perfect. Imperfect. Fully Human. Fully Divine. Restoration - that is something I can scarcely think about for my son, lest it leaves me to ponder. To wonder. What if? There is not room for me in loving my son to say "what if" for God made him in His image and the Light shines through.

  7. I don't think that the restoration needs to happen. Why can't kids with Autism just "Be"? They are all beautiful. I never want to miss the way my son looks at a problem from a completely different perspective than I could and comes up with solutions that I, a very intelligent college educated grown Woman could NEVER conceive. His different-ness allows him to do that. It's wonderful. His is a new reality. A new evolution in Man that is going to create a whole new world. Autism is no longer rare, it's becoming more and more prevalent across the world and there has to be a reason. God's plan? I don't know, but I know that I love my Sons, no matter what. I see beauty, amazement, intelligence, and wonder "in their eyes". <3