We worship the God of the Impossible. I wrote this line something like two weeks ago: “I wonder why our son’s autism causes him to struggle to connect so much that even a simple handshake can be a major victory or the lack of one can be such a stunning defeat.”
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” — Ephesians 3:20
We had been to Korbin’s eighth-grade awards assembly. The principal made a point to talk directly to the kids. He walked right up to them and told them he was proud of them. He reminded them that this ceremony was not the end. Instead, it was a point on the way to their destination. He also talked about the importance of a handshake, what it meant. He demonstrated it.
Unfortunately, when our son approached the podium, there was no attempt at a handshake. I felt my heart drop. I thought I was probably the only one who noticed. My wife noticed too. Keep in mind that I have worked on shaking hands with my son since he was three. He is now 15, and every morning we do it. I hold onto his hand and make him look at me. I say something to him. We have a moment.
I could not stop thinking about it, so I called him. I knew we had graduation coming up. He explained that he had tried before, but Korbin would not allow him to. It made sense to me because I know Korbin does not like physical contact. He does not make eye contact easily. We discussed it a bit, and I just told him he could push my son. The expectation should be the same for him.
The principal told me he would go to Korbin’s classroom and make him practice. I backed this up at home by saying, “Congratulations” instead of my usual morning routine. His teacher even sent a picture of one of the practice sessions at school. Then came graduation. Some kids have gone three years with a 4.0 GPA. There are a lot of kids even at that young age who have done some pretty amazing things. We were praying for a simple handshake.
Korbin’s name got called. Our son walked up, looked his principal right in the eye, and shook his hand. My heart was racing. Then I noticed something. Just like I do every morning. The principal did not let go of his hand. He leaned in. He had something to say to him. I will never forget it. They had a moment.
I went to the principal after the ceremony, and I had tears in my eyes. So did he. I said, “You were born for this job.” He proceeded to say, “Did you see what your son just did!” He was as happy about it as I was. God is the God of the impossible!
God of the Impossible
As I sat there that night, I thought about how much our son had grown. When he was diagnosed at three, we were told we had a two-year window to reach him. That was 12 years ago. He tested at “Severe Impairment.” It was daunting. We have been blessed at every grade level with people working with him. He has done things we never thought he would be able to do. He has grown more in the last four years than I have at any interval of my life.
Then I hear that his last at that school the next day, his entire team walked him home. All of them in tears. My wife in tears. At the corner across the street from our house, Korbin looked every one of them in the eye. Not casually. Like only Korbin can. I cannot describe it. He sort of reads your soul. And he will not let someone he cares about have stress without intervening. For about three days, he kept asking about them by name, wanting to be sure each one was okay. For a kid who was supposed to be unreachable, he sure has figured out a way to reach people.
We could not be more proud of him. This event got me thinking that God is probably proud of us. He sees how far we have grown in faith. Or maybe He sees how hard we have tried, even though progress looks very small to everyone else. God is the God of the impossible!
For more reading materials on The God of the Impossible, see below: