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Fatherhood, Hardship, and Hope

Sometimes life sucks, and there is little you can do to change things, all you can do is accept them! I am not talking about something that I have not experienced myself. The sad truth is that most people know this to be true, but it seems to me that Christians can be so “spiritual” that they can be the last to realize it. I think this creates disillusionment when life does what life does.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. When my son was born with some major challenges, it shifted things for me. I had numbers of fellow believers telling me that these things would/could not happen to people who loved God as we did. That didn’t seem accurate considering that I had friends, who loved God, who had special needs children. Being a Christian didn’t mean that things would be easy.

Life would become increasingly difficult with each passing day. We had to consider things that other parents wouldn’t have to think about. Most parents don’t have to worry about if their child had a seizure throughout the night and stopped breathing. Most parents don’t wonder if they will have to change the diapers of their preteens. Most parents don’t have to even think about whether or not they will have grandchildren or if their children will ever leave the house and live on their own. These are some of the normal considerations in our world.

I will tell you that there are some amazing benefits to our lives. Children with special needs inspire hope in a way that little else does. To see our son struggle to do something new that others find easy is motivating. It robs us of all of our excuses. If he can, through all of his challenges, then we certainly can get over ours. We live in a beautiful paradox, deeply desiring for him to be 100% capable while not wanting to change a thing about him. That is our world.

You many not have a special needs child, but you may have to take care of an ailing parent. Cancer comes for people indiscriminately. Jobs have layoffs, spouses cheat, cars breakdown, terrorist attack, etc. No amount of prayer, or believing will exempt us from the truth that life happens. Paul taught us to be ready for tough times…

“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.“ 2 Tim 2:3

Too many Christians are trying to deny hardship and difficulty and miss the fact that sometimes God himself ordains difficulty. The hard truth is that we can’t always determine the variables in our lives, but we can determine our attitude and perspective in the midst of challenges. If the goal of God for believers is an easy and carefree life then none of us would have hardships to bare. After all we have a faith based on the brutality of the cross, and are encouraged to take our crosses. It is because of our son’s special needs that we are able to display courage, faith, and hope in the midst of and in spite of difficulty. Our pain produces character in us that little else would or could.


* For more details about my journey as a father of a child who has special needs you can read it in an essay I wrote in a book called - Dads of Disabilities

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