Sometimes God teaches us things in unexpected ways. Sometimes He uses things that we would never think of as opportunities to learn more about Him. Things that are hard. But lessons we need to know.
Years ago, my husband, Scott, was asked to fill in when our pastor was away one Sunday. I didn’t know until his sermon began that Sunday morning what his topic would be. When I heard his sermon title, my heart did flip flops in my chest. I knew this was going to be one of those hard things to listen to. A hard thing that would end up being a blessing.
The title of his sermon? “7 Things I Learned About God from My Daughter (Who Has Autism).” His Scripture reference was Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV).
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
#1: God’s heart grieves when His children don’t respond to His voice.
Scott began by remembering how, when Hannah was born, he was caught off guard by the amount of love he had for her. Hannah was our first child, so neither of us had experienced this before. Of course we loved her before she was born, but it became much more real once we could hold her in our arms, kiss her, and love her right there with us. We loved her sweet smile, her soft skin, her fat little fingers and toes. We loved her with our whole beings. Before she was born, we would never have been able to understand how much we would love her!
He talked about how quickly she grew. How she began sitting up, rolling over, crawling, walking, and talking. Of course we thought everything she did was wonderful! Every new tooth was celebrated. Every milestone was carefully noted in her baby book.
And then, around the age of 15 months, things went wrong. Our beautiful girl began losing the ability to talk and to understand speech. She no longer made eye contact with us no matter how we tried to get her attention. She no longer laughed and engaged with us when we tried to play with her. She no longer seemed to understand the simple instructions that we gave her. Instead of happily obeying in order to get our approval, she began looking at us with a blank expression and vacant eyes. She no longer tried to please us or play with us. She no longer craved our attention and our love.
And then she began to lose language. This child who had chattered happily and practiced her new words with pride began to lose the ability and the drive to speak. We tried desperately to get her to name objects, make animal noises that had previously made her giggle, or say “bye bye,” when Daddy left for work. We sang her favorite songs and waited for her to do her part by providing a missing word. We were desperate and confused and worried. We knew something was wrong, but we didn’t have any idea what to do about it.
We simply knew that she no longer responded to us. She no longer responded to her father’s voice.
This brought Scott to his first point: God’s heart grieves when His children don’t respond to His voice.
The verses above state that we were “dead in our transgressions and sins.” In other words, we weren’t responding to God. Scott learned by experiencing Hannah’s lack of response toward him–Hannah’s earthly daddy–that God feels the same way when we–God’s children–fail to respond to Him. And if we as sinful earthly parents grieve when our children fail to respond to us, how much more must God’s heart be grieved when we fail to respond to His perfect love for us?
My prayer is that we all determine to listen when God speaks to us and to respond to His voice as He leads us the way we should go.
Tomorrow I will share the second point in Scott’s sermon. I hope this article has blessed you and that you will come back to read it!
And I would love to hear from you if you have a response to this article! Please leave me a comment below.
If you’d like to read the other posts in this series, just click the links below!