Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and Their Parents, Part 1

by Jul 7, 2020Encouragement, Spiritual Support0 comments

Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents come together not once or twice, but five times in the gospel. If caregiving families were that important to the Son of God, he has something to teach us through these encounters. Guest blogger Mark Arnold examines each of these stories in his occasional five part series here at Different Dream. Today, Mark breaks down the account of Jesus healing an official’s son at Capernaum.

During his three years of ministry, as recorded in the Gospels, Jesus met the parents of five children whom he healed or raised from the dead. We can learn from the stories of Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents by studying the parents’ actions and how Jesus responded to them. We may also see which parent we are most like!

What Happened in the Story

In John 4:43–45, Jesus heals a royal official’s son at Capernaum. The official hears that Jesus is in the area and begs him to come and heal his gravely sick son. At first Jesus dismisses him. When the father persists, Jesus tells him “Go, your son will live.” The father takes Jesus at his word. On his way home, his servants bring him the good news that his son is alive and getting better. They realize that the recovery started when Jesus spoke to the boy’s father. The whole household then believes.

How the Dad Acted and Reacted

  • Desperate and despairing: His son was dying. He was desperate to persuade Jesus to come and help.
  • Persistent: He wasn’t put off by Jesus’ initial dismissal. When Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe,” the father asked Jesus again.
  • Hopeful and perhaps disappointed or worried: The passage says he took Jesus at his word that his son would be okay. Were there tiny flames of hope in his heart? Was he disappointed that Jesus didn’t come with him? Was he worried about what he would find when he got home? Probably he reacted in all three ways.
  • Believing: Once he got the good news about his son, the father compared the time the boy had recovered to the time he had spoken with Jesus. When he saw they matched, he believed as did the whole household.

What We Can Learn from Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and their Parents

We may also be desperate and despairing, looking for any way to help our child. We may look in the wrong places at times. We may give up. However, this father knew Jesus had performed miracles before. He believed he could again, and so he persisted. 

God doesn’t always heal, but that doesn’t mean we should stop bringing our child’s needs to him. We will still have times of hope, disappointment, and worry. Like this father we can hold on to the hope and to God’s promises. 

This father believed only after he realized that his son had recovered when Jesus said he would. Our faith and belief doesn’t have to wait for a miracle. Our trust comes because we and our child are in God’s safe hands.

If you liked that post, Mark will be back soon with another story about Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents. See you then!

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By Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, a leading national Christian children’s and youth organization. He is co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, a national and international advocate for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. Mark is a Churches for All and Living Fully Network partner, a member of the Council for Disabled Children and the European Disability Network. He writes an additional needs column for Premier Youth and Children’s Work (YCW) magazine and blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. He is father to James, who has autism spectrum condition, associated learning disability, and epilepsy. To find out more about how Mark’s work can help you, contact him at: marnold@urbansaints.org or @Mark_J_Arnold.

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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