In our journey with autism, we are continually amazed at the ways God uses our son Fletcher to preach His word. Our last worship service took place at our local children’s hospital where Brenda and I took Fletcher for an EEG. Before explaining Fletcher’s sermon, I will briefly explain our reason for the visit.
In addition to his autism, Fletcher also struggles with epilepsy. The epilepsy surfaced a couple of years ago when Fletcher experienced a seizure at school that resulted in a trip to the emergency room. A few days later, Fletcher had another seizure and the doctors decided to place him on anti-seizure medication. Since Fletcher is a growing boy, the doctors want to monitor the efficacy of his medicine that can only be accomplished through an EEG.
We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and Fletcher’s pensive body language signaled that he had remembered his last trip to the facility. Fletcher’s anxiety initially emerged when the admissions person attempted to place the identification bracelet on his wrist. When the lady produced the bracelet, Fletcher buried his face in my side and hugged me like a desperate man hugs a tree in a tornado. The closer the lady came, the tighter Fletcher clung to his “Dada.” In fear, Fletcher took his refuge in his father.
During that moment, Fletcher embodied Psalm 56:3 which states, “ When I am afraid, I put my trust in you”(ESV). Of course, at the time, I was more concerned with what I would need to do if his test brought disappointing results. How would I be strong for Brenda? What would be our next step in getting Fletch the help he needed? Instead of clinging to Christ, I was contemplating my possible courses of action. Fletcher and I clung desperately to the same person: ME!
It was only after the doctor explained the results of the test to Brenda that I had time to relax and reflect on the day’s events. Fletcher did instinctively what three seminary degrees and a decade of pastoral ministry has still not taught me. When he experienced fear, he clung to his father. As I walk with this red headed speechless preacher through the Valley of Autism, I am amazed at how God uses him to preach His word to me. Hopefully, one day, I will learn to listen.