When God Gives You an Orange

I mentioned recently that God providentially prompted me to buy a book on parenting special needs kids a month or so ago. I really hadn’t intended on reading it right away but assumed it would make for a good resource for pastoral ministry. You never know when you might come into contact with people who have special needs kids and want to minister to them. Who knew I would meet the parent of a special need kid so quickly after my twins were born. It turned out it was going to be me.

God gave us beautiful little children in Christina and William. William turned out completely normal and healthy while Christina turned out to have something called Apert Syndrome, which we had never heard of. It will require a number of surgeries over a number of years to address to correct her skull and fingers and toes, and she may end up having cognitive limitations (a 50% chance). We don’t know. What we do know of course is that God is in control. Which brings me to the title of this post, “When God Gives us an Orange.”

The book I bought, The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs by Andrew and Rachel Wilson, at the beginning of the book uses the idea of having a special needs child is a bit like getting an orange at the end of a fancy dinner. Imagine you’re at a fancy dinner and everyone receives one of those wonderful, segmented chocolate oranges you see at Christmas (if you’ve never had one, look for them and enjoy them this Christmas). Instead of that delicious flavorful chocolate, you receive a plain ordinary orange: difficult to peel, seeds to spit out, and juice dripping off your chin. It’s not that oranges aren’t good. In fact, they are tasty and they’re probably better for you in the long run, but they’re not what you expected, and it’s disappointing. I thought this was a very apt analogy.

We we’re reminded recently, that a special need child is mourned for just like a child who dies. Just as we grieved the loss of our child who died in the womb last year, we mourn for what could be for Christina a well. This is natural. We weep before the Lord over the effects of sin and the curse in the world. We don’t know what life will be like for us and for Christina, but it won’t be easy. Now, we also look at this frowning providence and consider that God is completely good and completely sovereign and that He makes no mistakes. So Christina is supposed to have Apert Syndrome. It means God wants us to love her and care for her, and learn some great truths of relying on His grace and mercy for our day-to-day strength. When things go well, it’s easy to coast. When daily you are pressed in difficulty and trouble, you are much more focused on relying on the grace of Christ for every moment. In the end, the orange is better for us than the chocolate, just like Christina with Apert Syndrome, is better for us than Christina without.

It’s tough to come to these conclusions, but it is what God’s Word reveals to us. He doesn’t tell us why, but He does tell us to trust Him. So, while I do not know what life will be like with little Christina, I do know that God is good and God is kind and God is in control. He gave me an orange because He knew I needed an orange. And boy, is that orange wonderful. :)

4 Responses to When God Gives You an Orange

  1. That was such an encouraging post! So great to see God’s display of his faithfulness in other pilgrims down here. Because God is Sovereign, it is comforting to know that he ordained Christina for you for his purposes, for his glory and it will be for your good. Thank you for sharing God’s hand of providence in your life. May God bless you and your family.

  2. Barry Miller says:

    Great article Allen, I know that you and Tracy will shower her with lots of love, God knew which family to put her in!!

  3. Ethan says:

    Come back Allen we all miss you and have been very sad ever since you left us :(

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