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In 1997 my first husband and I adopted John,* a beautiful five-year-old with non-verbal autism.

While John was still new to our home, one evening while eating dinner he burst into tears. I felt helpless knowing he couldn’t tell me what troubled him, so I quietly cried out, “God please tell me why he’s crying!”

Instantly words entered my mind, “He’s upset because your food looks different than his.” I’d fixed a simple meal of wet bean burritos with a side of raw carrots and separated everything on his plate. I knew his sensory issues might not tolerate mixing ingredients.

As John sobbed, I responded to God’s prompt by quietly pointing out, “You have beans, we have beans. You have a tortilla; we have a tortilla,” until I’d shown him every similarity on our plates. With these words, a smile replaced tears. We all finished dinner with a new understanding of God’s care and power.

I can’t count the times through the years that God has heard and answered similar cries for wisdom by giving me or John words to meet a need he couldn’t express without God’s assistance. I marvel that God so intimately knows us that our words, when inadequate, aren’t a barrier to receiving his love and care.

When John was fourteen, my husband discovered cancer. Two years later, as John neared sixteen, his father died and words failed us both. Yet God filled my wounded soul with words that I could pass onto John. “Come closer. I love you. I hear you and I care.”

As John entered his twenties, God knew he needed words for unexpressed feelings about his adoption, worries about his former mother, grief over his multiple losses, and the swirling emotions he daily felt. So, God provided music therapy that allowed those emotions to surface. During therapy sessions, God also continued to give words either to me, John, or the therapist along with the needed wisdom so John could find some healing.

Life without words has been extremely hard for us both, but I am so thankful we serve an amazing God who continues to hear our wordless cries and answer in ways only he can. 

The Bible states, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)

Are you finding words inadequate as you face circumstances bigger than words? Read that Bible verse again and know that God doesn’t need “proper prayers” to hear and answer you. He simply needs a heart that acknowledges your need for him. If that’s you? Then cry out and know he hears and will answer!      

*John’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.

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Flourish – Robin L Seaton (rlseaton.com)

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