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An Answer

Filed under: — jen d @ 1:13 pm
Mark 10:27: 27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Some of you know that my younger brother John is a huge burden on my heart. Not only do I worry over his daily safety and happiness, but I worry over his soul. Because of his Down’s Syndrome and other issues, it is very hard to know just how much he understands about what you are saying to him, even where only mildly complex concepts are concerned. As such, it is difficult to know what he understands about the Lord.

Now, John used to hate going to church, in the way that he hated going to most public places. Think “sensory overload.” The people, the background noise, and, especially, the organ, were likely sources of real physical pain to him. It became easier to leave him home with my father on Sunday mornings, which scenario has been the norm for years. My mom has, however, taken him to her church on occasions when my father is unavailable. So much has changed in how John deals with social venues, and we’re delighted that he now enjoys going to family gatherings, restaurants, and, when necessary, church. But old habits die hard, and it’s still been easier to leave him home with my dad on Sundays.

But I’ve recently grown dissatisfied with such a senseless routine. Does it follow that, simply because John might not fully grasp all of the concepts preached in a given sermon, that he should therefore be cut off from the entire fellowship and influence of the spiritual family? No. And why do we hope, in doing more of the same, to reep different results?

I was able to bring John to my Boston church a month or so ago. It wasn’t easy, logistically, but he came, and, lo and behold, enjoyed himself. He made friends quickly with Pastor Bill and his wife. He was more than well behaved, and seemed to like the classroom setting (which he’s maybe more used to than pews and organs). I was glad he liked it, but was unable to bring him back for several weeks due to the fact that he needs more constant care than I would have been able to provide in light of other ministry responsabilities. However, because I’ve had several opportunites to sit for my siblings overnight in the past few weeks, I’ve been the one to say prayers with John. My mom does this faithfully, and I know she explains the gospel in doing so, in simple terms, each time. He’s getting used to the vocabulary. In taking over this post, I was delighted to hear how much he has retained, and though I don’t know if there’s real comprehension there (he learns a lot of things by rote), it gave me hope. I did add one thing to our prayers, namely that John would like to come to church. That is, that he’d enjoy it to the point where it would be a priority for him.

Still, it took me by surprise when he turned to me last Saturday and said, totally unbidden and out of context with any other discussion we’d been having, as clear as a bell (also unusual), that he wanted “to go to church tomorrow.”

Where? Church. He was almost demanding.

My little sister, Amy, and I exchanged glances of utter amazement at his request. But we both nearly fell over dead when he then said a few more (less intelligible) words that ended with “Jesus Christ.”

Who? Jesus Christ. He not only wanted to go to church, but quite of his own volition associated doing so with Jesus Christ. And he’d been thinking about it. Unprompted. And was motivated to seek him. Needless to say, I obliged him; he and Amy came to Boston with me the next morning, and at the end of the service, John met me with a ginormous smile on his face. I think he’ll come again.

I don’t blame you if you can’t personally understand the significance of this development, or cannot understand why it did, and still does, move me to tears. It’s hard to understand if you don’t have a relationship of your own with someone like John. The point is that God answers prayer – specifically, and completely, where they are in His will – and that He is busy doing some awesome work in my brother’s heart that is quite beyond my comprehension, over which I am amazed. I’d be worse than ungrateful if I didn’t tell you about it. I hope it gives you hope for those souls for which you are burdened. Don’t give up. It seems impossible, and indeed it is, humanly speaking. But remember:

Mark 10:27: 27And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

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