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STORY: Autistic Boy's Mumbling

Hannah had always seen herself like the Hannah in the Bible, and then like Elizabeth, as both of them were barren until late in life. Hannah and her husband finally conceived in their forties, and it had come with a vision in a dream that her son would be powerful in the kingdom of God. She felt God had finally seen her.

But when she realized her son had severe autism and would never even be able to live a life on his own, she asked if everything she had read into her story was from God at all. And now with Elias being the way he was, she didn't even have the time to go do ministry herself.

And then when her husband had a stroke and was bedridden at age 55, she lost even more hope.

Her son, Elias mostly stayed in the living room where his dad's bed was, but she thought it was because of his obsessions. His autistic obsessions seemed to be with machinery and biology. He was always looking up at the technical machines or scrolling through web pages about doctor type stuff. And always whispering to himself. He had always, since he was young, been constantly whispering to himself.

Whenever they wheeled his father into the doctor, Elias insisted on going with. And he never failed to ask the weirdest questions about how tendons attach to bones or the effect of obscure proteins on neurons or something. The doctors generously entertained his curiosity for a couple visits until they realized the seemingly irrelevant questions would not cease and said they really had "to get to other patients."

Elias' obsessions had seemed to intensify every time his dad had started to fail, including the final one. He was absorbing her stress, she thought.

Now Hannah was questioning everything about God's plan. Even though they did seem to have several miraculous recoveries, when her husband had been on the brink of death the doctors had said, "we really don't know how he came back from this." They had gotten another year of moments with him, but he had ultimately not made it.

And she always went back to the promise that had felt the most real thing she had ever heard from God, "Your son will be powerful in the Kingdom of God." Had she ever really heard anything from God?

Now she had taken Elias to the grocery store. They had really neglected to feed themselves well in those last days before her husband died.

"Just stay close to me, Elias, and can you please just whisper a little quieter?" She still couldn't tell what he was saying because of the shuffle and hum of the grocery store. But it was loud enough others would be distracted by it.

"Why is your baby's eyes like that?" Elias' was talking to someone.

Hannah shut the freezer door and froze, petrified as she saw Elias was looking at a baby in the shopping cart with crossed eyes.

The mothers exchanged glances and Hannah quickly grabbed Elias' hand to drag him away and mouthed to the woman she was so sorry.

The woman was kind and made a gesture to stay. She told Elias, "he was born that way. And I love him just the way he is."

"Is it related to the irregular shape of his head?"

Both mothers' embarrassment notched up several levels.

"No," she stuttered, "I don't think so. Some babies are just born that way, I think."

Elias' started to ask a question about what she fed him but Hannah was so embarrassed she pulled Elias away and said sorry to the woman without even being able to look her in the eyes.

At home she was so humiliated she could not even look at Elias. She furiously examined her grocery receipt in the chair across from him in the living room, trying to figure out how it had been so expensive. They did not have money to spare these days.

Elias was in his computer reading intently and whispering incessantly.

This was the first time in, maybe years, that there was not the roar of the breath machine or something else preventing her from fully hearing what Elias was whispering.

And now as she sat looking absently at the receipt, she started to understand some of the words Elias was whispering.

"My brother, Jesus of Nazareth... the baby today at the store... lateral rectus muscle... fully strengthened... parietal bone reformed... nutrition to the muscles..."

"Elias?" She said. He kept reading and whispering. "Are you praying, Hunny?"

"That baby had a common problem with the lateral rectus muscle. God needs to heal it." He went back to whispering.

"Hunny," Hannah continued, "Were you praying for dad when you were next to him this whole time?"

"And doing some reading."

Hannah put her hand over her mouth. "Do you think that's why he got better those times?"

"Yes, mom. Why else would he get better? God was the only doctor who knew anything." He looked at the carpet as he thought. "But I had to learn how to pray. And the monitors would tell me if I was praying for the right things in the right ways."

"Oh, so you were praying for the specific things you thought were going wrong?"

"Well, he knows what was going wrong," Elias looked at the carpet, "but I just thought God wanted me to ask Him to heal those things."

Tears welled in Hannah's eyes as she sat, looking at her son, hunched severely toward his computer, lips back to whispering a million miles and hour.

"Hunny?" she waited for a response that never came. "Did you like being in the hospital? Seeing all those people that needed prayer?"

Elias looked at the carpet again and stopped whispering for just a moment. "Yeah, it was okay."

"What would think if you and mommy started going to hospitals and praying for them."

"You're going to have to get a lot better at praying, Mom. I don't see you praying at all anymore."

Hannah smiled and nodded. She sniffed and said, "You're right. I think maybe I have a lot to learn from you."

Raw Spoon, June 6, 2024

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These BLOGS are usually inspired by messages I (or friends) feel we have heard from God. This is the nature of our God. Listen for how he may be speaking to you.

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