Thursday, April 26, 2012

Step 26: From a Pastor's Perspective.

My observation of all the Guppy family, throughout the time I've known them, is that autism has had this effect on their family:  it proved that their faith in God was genuine  and continues to make their faith stronger.  

I always say that faith is real when it gets us through difficult times. Some people would be angry and allow this condition to make them hate God and run from Him.  They seem to love Him more as they see autism as a window of opportunity to discover the uniqueness of Brandon from a vantage point (God's), that we rarely take the time to discover.  They believe that God reveals Himself through Brandon in ways that nobody else would ever see.  And they know that Brandon has a window to heaven that non-autistic people rarely experience. 

It would be putting it mildly to say that autism brings their family a great deal of frustration, heartache and grief.  Most of us couldn't even begin to comprehend the depth of hurt and pain autism brings to a parent's heart.  That has been very real to them.  But something bigger and more powerful than autism has also been real to them also - their faith that has revealed a spirit of perseverance that is empowered by God Himself.  In the Bible, James made this statement:  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3)  Parents of children who have autism have their faith tested daily.  And every day, they discover the reality of God's presence like the Apostle Paul knew when he said, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength..."  (2 Tim. 4:17)  Autism, as debilitating as it can be, hasn't made them weak and defeated.  It has strengthened their faith, hope and love as they rely daily on God to sustain them. 

          Written by Pastor Bryan Donahoo
                Graceview Baptist Church
The Joy Ministry of Graceview Baptist Church

(Michelle adding this)
Poem from Miss Pam, a former volunteer in the Joy Ministry who was very touched by Brandon...

When Brandon Laughs

When Brandon laughs
The world stops turning
My heart stops beating
I don't even breathe
I just listen and smile
Happy he's happy
And thank the good Lord above
For sending this special child

When Brandon laughs
My spirit soars
I know God's alive
And Jesus is here
And love is all that matters
I watch him leap with joy
And just for a moment
The evil in my world disappears

When Brandon laughs
I just want to make things turn
Because Brandon likes things that go 'round
So I make the wheels spin
Over and over, again and again
And watch his eyes dance
His delight is ours to share
And we should NEVER miss that chance