Tuesday, February 15, 2011


That word "lifelong" looms as an ominous cloud over the classical definition of autism. Whether you read it on a book cover, hear it from a doctor, or google search it, it's superlative and so final.

Here's one:

Autism is a complex, life long developmental disability that interferes with the person's ability to understand what he sees, hears and touches.

and another:

Autism is a lifelong disability affecting nearly 1 in 250 children

born in the world today. With the diagnosis of autism reaching

epidemic proportions, it is important that accurate information is made

available to anyone who will be working with, living with, or loving a

person with autism.

Lately (and remember I'm 14 years post-diagnosis), it's hit me thus: Who among us doesn't have a lifelong condition? Whether you call it sin or humanity, we all have it. It's not going away this side of heaven.

We all grapple with some resonant theme for the course of a lifetime. Some get help, make significant progress, experience breakthrough, accomplish amazing milestones, others remain stuck. We may make great strides for a season, even appear "recovered" for periods of time, but then slip back, fall off the wagon and feel hopeless. Two steps forward, one step back. It's universal--with or without an autism diagnosis.

Whether we tend toward pride, rejection, greed, anger, selfishness, fear, we each have our hot buttons. There are interventions available to help us in the natural world. Spiritual gains are there too. The Lord may reveal a verse that helps us through a time; accountability partners give us a leg up for a season; we enjoy success, even deliverance for years of time. But we remain: human, sinful, incomplete.

Personalize it. What prayer do you pray each Sunday in church? Have you become a broken record asking God for grace in the same area? I have confessions and recommittals that are recurrent, if I'm honest. They are lifelong issues related to my unique temperament, circumstances and alas, even God's purpose in my life.

And so, we work out our salvation... Life...Long...until that day we are complete in Christ.

Until then, you might say we're all learning how to die...to self, to sin, to _____.

Jon Foreman sings it best:

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. Psalm 19:6-8 The Message

For to me, to live is Christ
and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-22

Therefore, my dear friends...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling... Philippians 2:11-13

1 comment:

  1. andrea, i LOVE your reflections. i've been thinking about this very thing a lot lately and even have an unfinished post on it. thank God we know how the story ends. until then may our lifelong conditions keep us needing Him.