Trusting God With Our “If Only’s”


**Note: this devotion originally appeared in, “A Legacy of Faith: A 30-Day Devotional by Bethlehem Women.” You can check it out and dowload the entire devotional HERE!


“Then Job replied to the LORD: ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.'” Job 42:1-2 (NIV)

Our son was three years old when a stern-faced doctor doled out the news we’d suspected yet dreaded for months: a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, plus a rare genetic anomaly.

In the months and years that followed, it felt like I experienced little “deaths” everywhere I turned.

Meltdowns and embarrassing outings replaced dreams of lazy days at the park.

Aspirations of sweet birthday parties with dozens of kids swapped places with tantrums and tears brought on by overstimulation.

Visions of my child tearing it up in a sports arena faded in the face of his performance anxiety and crippling fear.

I found myself taunted by thoughts of if only.

If only this wasn’t his reality, life could be great.

If only he didn’t have autism, everything would be fine.

If only his genetic code was “normal,” God could do big things through him.

But fixating on the “if only’s” left me discouraged and devoid of hope for our future.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe your child’s diagnosis or struggle has you crying out to God with your own “if only’s!” Or perhaps you aren’t raising a unique child, but other circumstances—like your own diagnosis, job loss, broken relationship, or shattered dream—have you feeling the same way.

At the heart of my grief—and maybe at the heart of yours—sat the false belief that because my child has special needs, somehow God’s good and perfect plans no longer apply to his life.

However, nothing could be farther from the truth! No diagnosis, heartache, or loss can thwart God’s plans for your child (and you). My child’s diagnosis marked the start of my long journey to fully understand this truth and rely on God’s gracious heart and trustworthy sovereignty.

To learn, as Job did through his heart-wrenching journey of doubt and loss, that God will stop at nothing to accomplish His plans:

“Then Job replied to the LORD: ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.'” Job 42:1-2 (NIV)

Dear one, we don’t serve an “if only” God. Instead, we serve a God who only works good for us and our children—and He’s able to use each tear, trial, and difficult circumstance to do just that.

God will use every facet of your child’s wiring to accomplish His plans.


Her genetic code.

His atypical brain.

Her unique struggles.

His limitations.


Parenting a special needs kid isn’t a stop to a remarkable and beautiful life. It’s a gift—for those willing to unwrap it.

It’s a path that will free you from the false and exhausting pursuit of what the world calls “perfect.”

And it’s a route that will lead you into deeper, sweeter fellowship with your creator than you thought possible.

And it’s a journey that will give you a front-row seat to the miracle maker we call Father and Friend.

No diagnosis, shattered dream, or loss will stop God’s plans for each of His fearfully and wonderfully made children. Therefore, we can fully trust our God, who takes all the broken pieces and weaves them into breathtaking redemption—for our good and His glory.

May we stand on this truth today and walk forward in faith, one step at a time.

With Grace,

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