When we physically protect them from injuring themselves, sometimes we end up in the emergency room.
When we bear their emotional burden of not having friends, we feel their pain, sometimes as intensely as they do.
When we spend our retirement money getting the best treatment and services we can afford, we decrease their chance of having to live in an institution by increasing our chance of having to one day live in an institution.
When we pour our limited resources into the bottomless pit called autism, we choose to make ourselves poor.
And when we do that, we become the people that God came for when He humbled Himself, put on flesh and came to earth.
When Jesus began his public ministry He said this:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus came for the poor, because He knew that those were the people whose pride had been broken, who needed Him and who could hear His message.
Most of us are educated, middle class, Americans, and have lived better than the vast majority of people in the history of the world. Had autism not entered our lives, would we be ‘the poor’?
During a particularly hard time I had the history channel on while I was working on something and there was an archaeologist reading ancient Hebrew carved into the wall of an underground cave written by a jewish slave who probably spent most of his time there digging out stone for his Egyptian slaveholders. It read “God, please don’t forget me down here”.
When he read it began to cry and pray the same thing. There is not a chance that 10 years ago I would have identified in any way with a slave trapped underground.
Because those of us who are broken are the people he came to reach out to, we have chances to understand things that few people do, and become what we may have never become otherwise.
So let us not be afraid to empty ourselves out for our children.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.