“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” John 3:16-17 (NLT).
From the time my son was an infant, he has struggled with both physical and neurological deficits. He learned how to crawl and walk, but at late stages. It was nothing the doctors were overly concerned about, but he did have notable delays in those areas. He also suffered from frequent ear infections. This went on for months from the time he was an infant up until about 1-1/2 years of age, when we had ear tubes inserted surgically in both ears to help put an end to the ear infections.
He has been the type of child who has always been cautious and fearful. For instance, when he was old enough to sit with us in the pews at Church, we began noticing that he could not tolerate the sound of the organ playing. He would immediately start crying uncontrollably and covering his ears, because the music was too loud for him. Using public restrooms that had automated hand dryers was also a problem. He would immediately start screaming and running out of the bathroom, because he couldn’t stand the noise. His sensitivities and reactions in these situations did cause a concern for both me and my husband.
After doing some research and talking to a close family friend, we decided to have him tested by a pediatric developmental specialist to rule out that he may be on the autistic spectrum. After numerous appointments and evaluations, we were told that our son was not autistic, but had issues with sensory processing and anxiety. He also was diagnosed with a motor coordination delay, which impacted both his large and fine motor skills. The diagnosis was helpful, in that we could get our son the extra assistance at school and from outside professionals that he was going to need. However, it was also a worry and stress on us as to how he would acclimate in a school setting and if he would suffer socially because of his challenges.
My bible study time this past week was in Chapters 21 through 25 of the Book of Numbers. In these chapters, the message focuses on the importance of looking to God and the importance of trusting Him as our protector. I want to look specifically in Chapter 21 where we see the people of Israel asking God to hand the Canaanite people over to them, so they can destroy their towns. God hears them and grants them their request, giving them victory over the Canaanites.
After their victory, the people set out for another long journey to the land of Edom. Yet again we see the people frustrated over their lack of food and water, complaining to Moses and blaming God. As a result, God sends poisonous snakes upon the people as a punishment for their lack of faith and complaining. Those who did not die from the venomous snakes began acknowledging their sin to Moses, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes” (See Numbers 21:7). The Lord responds by telling Moses to “make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it” (see Numbers 21:8). So, Moses obeys the Lord’s command and anyone who looked at the bronze snake was healed.
Why did God choose to respond in this way? Why not just heal the people? If we turn to Chapter 3 in the Book of John it becomes clearer. In John 3:14-15 (NLT), Jesus says this, “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”
God uses the bronze snake as a symbol of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. This is a wonderful foreshadowing of what it is to come for God’s people. As we have learned from these chapters, God is all-knowing and perfect in His plans for us. He is our protector from sin – then and now.
Through the years, I have spent plenty of wasted time worrying over my son’s challenges. I used to worry about him fitting in with his peers and being accepted by the world for who he is. But now I look upward, not inward. When those fears come creeping up on me, I can pray to my God – my son’s creator and protector. I don’t need to worry, because God loves my son and wants what is best for him. My job is to trust God and follow His lead.
Father God, thank you so much for the blessing of my son! He is both fearfully and wonderfully made by your most capable hands. I entrust him to you. I know you want what is best for him. Please help me to remember to call on you in times of worry and to look to you for direction. I am so humbled and overwhelmed by the gift of Jesus in my life and it is through His life that we are saved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.