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 JasonHague.com.
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.
This happened for two straight years. Progress and regression. Progress and regression.
Today, at age seven,
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. Jackson
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
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. Jackson
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
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 Jackson Queens,
and celebrated like rockstars.
Ed. Note - Amen, my friend. Amen.