A wonderful Christian friend, who I will call Terry, asked me the following question, how would you answer it?
"My 8 years old son is severely autistic. He cannot speak and we are not sure exactly how much he understands. Because of his disability it makes it impossible for him to kneel down and pray or do the other "normal" things that we are told we must do to become saved (such as asking God to save us). He doesn't even understand the concept of God. What will his fate be? He was born with this disability and I pray that he will go to heaven."
Here are my thoughts.
We humans in all of our wisdom can't begin to scratch the surface of the Father's wisdom, and what seems so hard for us to understand, I'm sure is very simple to Him. I have no great wisdom that the world would embrace, but I can share with you what my own heart tells me. We humans have a definition of what is normal, and what is not, but we may have it all backwards as far as the Father is concerned. When I think about your wonderful 8 year old son, I say to myself, son, what are you thinking, what is life like within your soul, is there happiness there, or is there only sadness, how can I come into your world to share the life you see and feel? Only the love of God will give us the answers to these questions. If we see the world through the loving eyes of the Father, then perhaps things will begin to become a little clearer.
As I see it Terry, the soul is made up of both flesh and blood until the Lord separates it with His mighty sword when we leave this earthly land. I believe the soul comes into this world as a pure and loving being, and its first job is to learn how to manipulate the human body. As we see a new born baby come into the world it seem to just twist back and forth uncontrollably, as though it is searching for a way out. The animal world in which the spirit suddenly finds itself is as strange as we will find heaven when we get our first glimpse into the glory of the Father. In learning to manipulate the human body, the spirit begins to learn what works and what doesn't work, it begin to learn what is good, and what is bad for the comfort of its human shells. As the spirit learns more and more about how to operate the human machine, it begin to look more and more inwards to those things which please it, those things that make life easier for it, as it slowly begin to forget where it came from in the first place. The body becomes all-important, as the spirit seems to fade away within the flesh. But it will not always be this way, and the spirit will again stand tall on its own one day, without this temporary flesh to bind it.
I don't know why the Father allows souls to come into the world like your loving son, but I do know that it is for a good reason which we cannot yet fully understand. We must try to look at your son as the Father might see him. Your son never learned to look inward like the rest of us, he looks only outward. He never let his human desires rule his soul, perhaps because his spirit is so strong that he just refuses to take part in a world that is not ruled by his Father. Perhaps it is a physical defect the Father has allowed to fulfill His purpose, and we will just have to wait until the Father tells us all about it. However I also believe such souls wear the mark of Christ upon their foreheads because they belong to Him, and we humans haven't yet learned how to see it? They come to suffer for our well being.
The few glimpses that we have gotten into the lives of an autistic child tell us that they usually feel, and see far deeper than we so called normal humans can even begin to grasp. They seem to be on a completely different plane than we are, and perhaps it is just too difficult for them to come down to our level. They also teach the rest of us what love is really all about. Love is in giving of ourselves totally, and without regard to our on desires, which is the kind of love that is required to care for such a child. It is the same kind of love that is required to open the door to the Father's kingdom. The lust of mankind is often confused with love, as lust seeks only self-satisfaction, while love seeks to give all it has. Perhaps the Father sends these children to us, as an angel in our mist, to help mold and make us into the loving spirit He had planned for us from the very beginning. What a wonderful day it will be when such special children will be able to tell us how much they appreciate our love for them, and how much they love us in return. That day will surely come, and then the entire world will understand.
Terry, as for your son not being able to do "the other "normal" things that we are told we must do to become saved", I would suggest that you might want to look again at your loving son through the eyes of the Father. You see, the church of the Father is not found in buildings made of stone, it is not found in wonderful rituals, it is not found in great organizations, or in any certain groups of people, the church of the Father is only found in the hearts of His children. The Father created His children, He knows them well, and He is the Lord of their heart's church. It is the heart alone that must kneel before the Master of the Church, it is the heart that must ask for salvation, and it is in the heart's church alone that we must praise the Father with all our being. You see, it is a simple matter of whom do we love, not what we may do. We may think that children like your son are not perfect, but if we could see them through the eyes of the Father who created them, I'm sure they would look much differently to us.
As far as the rest of us being normal in the eyes of the Father, I think we are all abnormal because of our sins. Those who have not sinned in the eyes of the Father, face no tribulation. Your child is sinless in the eyes of the Father, because he has never been out of the loving arms of his Creator, and therefore there is nothing to be saved from. Only when one is cast out on his own does he need to be saved from himself. Christ paid it all and we lay the wonderful gift of your son at His feet. What belongs to the Father, no one can take away. Jesus told us, "suffer not the little children to come unto me".
I don't know if I have answered your question or helped any, but if not, please let me know and we will try again. My prayers are with you and your family that the will of the Father be done in all things, and we thank Him for the wonderful gift of your loving son who the Father has now shared with us all.
God bless you and keep you, and may His loving Spirit overflow your soul.Your brother in Jesus, the ONLY Christ.