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Family Shows Persistent Love to Hurting Couple

John Knight and Denise Knight were happily anticipating the birth of their first child, a son. They had already decided to name him Paul. But when Paul was born, there was a big problem: Paul was born without eyes. John and Denise would later discover that their son had other serious issues, including severe autism and a growth hormone deficiency.

Two months after Paul's birth, as John was looking at his son hooked up to tubes and sensors and surrounded by medical professionals, he quietly told God, "God, you are strong, that's true, and you are wicked. You are mean. Do it to me—not to this boy. What did he ever do to you?" Shortly after that prayer, John and Denise quit going to church.

But one couple from the church refused to give up on them. Karl and Gerilyn never pressured John and Denise about spiritual issues. Instead, they would often stop by and leave simple gifts, like a loaf of fresh bread or a basket of soap and shampoo for Denise. John said that it was like Karl and Gerilyn were saying, "I notice you. I see you. I know you're hurting and I love you."

Eventually John and Denise accepted a dinner invitation from Karl and Gerilyn. During dinner John told Karl, "You can believe whatever you want. I don't care. I have evidence that God is cruel." Karl softly replied, "I love you, John. I have regard for you, and I love your boy."

Karl and Gerilyn's four children also displayed unconditional love for their son. John described it this way:

They'd throw [my son] up in the air and make him laugh and do funny bird sounds and—and that was confounding, because most people, most adults couldn't do that. And so I would have this extraordinary expression of love and affection at the dinner table here, and I would turn to my left—and there would be at least one of these children playing with my boy like he was a real boy. I wasn't even sure he was a real boy at times.

Based on this family's quiet, persistent love, John and Denise finally returned to the Lord and to their local church. And when they returned Karl and Gerilyn stayed by their side, making sure their son made it into the nursery. John would later say, "They persisted. That was a big deal that they persisted with us."

Editor's Note: Desiring God Ministries offers this as a free eBook download. It's an excellent resource for understanding and preaching on disabilities.

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