Chief Chaplain Don Fuller at the Veterans Administration Medical Center told a story at chapel service Sunday. The story was from the previous chief chaplain who had an autistic son with inability to speak clearly. They had to leave a church because the church could not accept the son. The father questioned God, “Why did you give me an autistic son?” One day the father was working in his garden. His autistic son walked up to him and said with clear speech, “God gave me to you so you would learn to love more deeply.” The father was shocked! After speaking clearly, the son reverted to his autistic speech.
The Spirit of God spoke to me in the story. I have been asking a similar question, “God, why is this happening to Sandie? Why are you allowing this to happen? I know you could heal her brain with a word, so why?”
So, I thought, “God, is that the reason for Sandie’s Parkinson’s? Is it so I can learn to love more deeply? I have been made aware of my selfish impatience and anger. 1 Corinthians 13 says love is patient and kind, and I have not been patient and kind toward Sandie. But how is that fair to Sandie? You give her a disease so I can learn to love more deeply… how is that loving her? She doesn’t like having Parkinson’s. It’s a burden for her. If you really loved her then you would heal her.” I said this and asked the questions of God as I was walking around my neighborhood.
Then I heard the Spirit whisper in my mind, “It’s about love.” I questioned again, “I can see how it’s about love for me, but how is it about love for her?” The Spirit answered, “You are learning to love more deeply. She is feeling your love more deeply.” I said, “So for her it’s about feeling loved by me. I’m giving more and she’s receiving more.”
I now realize the reason is love for both of us. For me it is to love more deeply; to love my wife as Christ loved the church. For Sandie it is to FEEL LOVED more deeply by me. According to the five love languages, I know the way she feels loved is “acts of service”. I am doing more acts of service to help her, so I am speaking her love language a lot more now. She frequently says, “I am so grateful for you.”