Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Nonverbal, but testifying

“Some of you know that a person with autism may be prone to perseverating.”

I’ve learned that word from friends with children with various special needs. But I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I ever heard it at the Desiring God Pastors Conference. Paul Miller grabbed my attention at that moment.

He told us a story about their daughter, Kim. I’m not going to tell you that story right now or what perseveration means. But you can hear it pretty early in the audio from Paul Miller’session.

Here’s the story I want to tell you. The Millers were in the waiting room at the emergency room when Kim had a major melt-down. “An effective way to get shown immediately to an exam room.”

As Kim cried uncontrollably, she signed repeatedly, “Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me.”

A couple of weeks later, she used her speaking computer to talk about that night, “God spoke to me.”

Now, this is not the language the Millers normally use at their house to talk about how God communicates with us. So it seemed pretty clear that Kim was telling them her own experience with God. They asked what he told her. Her answer: He said, “Don’t be afraid, Kim. I’ll be with you.” He spoke to her in words she knew from his written word.

God knows how to speak to Kim. Being terrified didn’t keep Kim from praying or from hearing God. He spoke to her with familiar words she could understand in the midst of her roiling emotions. Being nonverbal didn’t stop Kim from testifying to God’s work for her that night.

Kim’s testimony is an encouragement to me. If God wants me to hear him, he will have no trouble making himself known.

I’m guessing some of you have had similar experiences that might help the rest of us.

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One Response to “Nonverbal, but testifying”

  1. What a beautiful story, and so full of truth.

    God’s made himself known to me in various ways throughout the years, but none so vividly as when I was anorexic in college. I’ve written about this before so I’ll keep this short. A friend took me to see the musical Les Miserables. Of all the characters, the one I most identified with was Javert: legalistic, self-righteous, intent on perfection. That was me, the perfect little anorexic intent on earning God’s grace.

    Halfway through the song where Javert despairs and commits suicide, I realized that I was watching myself do the same thing. I was starving myself, rejecting grace (like Javert rejects Valjean’s grace) and killing myself because I wasn’t perfect enough.

    It was definitely God speaking to me, and he spoke a “language” (story telling) that I understood.

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