No Mere Mortals
There are over 7 billion people in the world today. Each one of these people is created for a purpose. Each one of them possesses a soul that will live, or die, forever. C.S. Lewis said:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
But many of us interact with people every day without thought of their eternal trajectory. The things we say or the interest we show or the deeds we do toward them often are short-sighted. We confess hope in the eternal, but in real life deal in the temporal. Our actions, however, are profoundly impacting others’ eternal joy or demise whether we realize it or not. Lewis said, “All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”
Eyes of Compassion
Lewis had eyes like Jesus did. He understood that people were not to be shied away from or feared or manipulated or marginalized. They were to be loved. That’s why it says of Jesus that “seeing the people, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).
Jesus didn’t see people with contempt; he saw them with compassion. He didn’t see them as a threat; he saw them as threatened. He didn’t see them as servants to his needs; he saw himself as a servant to theirs. They were distressed and dispirited—running around like scared, helpless, weak sheep.
And he would be their Shepherd. He would rescue and save them. He would calm their fears and silence their beleaguered bleating with his peace. He would triumph over their threats and lead them to safety.
When you interact with some of the 7 billion people on earth this week, see them with compassion. See them as distressed and dispirited. See them as sheep without a shepherd, and them introduce them to the Great Shepherd.
It's Tuesday. When I leave the office, I'll grab some pizza and take it home, where I'll see my wife and daughter. I'll give them a hug and kiss (or fist bump). Before we talk about our days, I'll walk over to the couch and say hi to my 22-year-old brother-in-law, who will promptly ask me when he can play with the toy computer. Michael hangs out with us once a week. Michael also has autism.
It just so happens that this particular Tuesday is World Autism Awareness Day. While I think it's a great cause to raise awareness for autism and especially to raise resources to research it, I believe there's another angle to it for believers. In addition to asking if we are aware of autism, maybe a further question is, "What does autism make us aware of?" There are a few things, the first being...
1. The Autism Spectrum makes us aware of the iridescent creative spectrum of God.
God creates beautiful beings because his creation in some part reflects his person. Michael is beautiful and complex, and sometimes I see things in his personality that show me a clearer picture of God than when interacting with others. I am thankful for God's vibrant creativity and manifold wisdom in creating people with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and although it reminds us of God's beautiful personality...
2. Autism reminds us that we live in a broken world.
Our world is not in a perfected state. Disease and disorders are rampant. Death is inevitable. Moral corruption is deceptively deep. Natural disasters abound. Wars are unceasing. Autism is one disorder among many that brings to the forefront of our minds that this world is broken, but…
3. We have hope in a future glory that is brighter and longer than this brief dim life.
Romans 8:18 says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Basically, Paul says that when Christ is revealed in all His glory, we will no longer grieve these temporary sufferings (though they seem constant and relentless now). Our present awareness of autism should press us to ponder the total joy and satisfaction we will feel when in the presence of the unwavering and full display of Christ's glory. But this apex of glory has trailings that begin in this life because...
4. God's works are often displayed on the canvas of autism.
In John 9, Jesus' disciples ask why a man was blind. They wanted to know if it was the result of sin. Jesus' answer is intriguing and insightful. He says that the man was blind "so that the works of God might be displayed in him" (John 9:3). That means the blindness was merely a stage set for the story of God to be told. The story of his healing would direct his own soul and others' Godward.
God’s glory is on display through autism, and I pray these few short thoughts turn your soul Godward as you observe His handiwork in your friends or family who live with it.