I Have Asperger’s Syndrome and God is Using it for Good

by Noah Lynch

October 15, 2019


This article originally appeared in Lancaster Bible College’s online student newspaper,  Focus. 

Have you ever known someone with Asperger’s syndrome? I do…

Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that causes those afflicted to have more trouble being in social situations, to seek out solitary places when they feel stressed, to maintain consistency in their daily activities and to be sensitive to certain stimuli, such as loud noises and bright lights. I have Asperger’s syndrome, and I’ve seen firsthand how it’s been challenging in many aspects of my life. I’ve also come to see how God uses it for good and for His glory.

Being an introvert, I draw my strength from being alone. However, because I have Asperger’s, I need to be alone more than normal people, even more than other introverts. This impacted me when I was younger, as I tended to avoid other people. Looking back, I see that I missed a lot of opportunities to grow my friendships. Even so, when I was in youth group, I made several good friends that I love and still keep up with.

Another aspect of my autism is a very strong, almost single-minded focus on accomplishing things. When I need to get something accomplished, especially if I perceive it is important, I feel anxious if it isn’t done and will work extra hard to complete it. I have learned to manage this on bigger projects, like school assignments, with a well-structured plan, where I break things up and spread them out, working through things a little at a time.

When I came to LBC, I found that these two aspects of my Asperger’s combined in an interesting, though challenging, way.

In my first year at LBC, through school and the guidance of my parents and friends, I learned more about the importance of friends. I realized that I needed to make sure I didn’t miss out on developing strong friendships at college. I was frequently counseled by my dad, “When you’re in college, you have some of the best opportunities to make life-long friends, so don’t miss out on those opportunities—yes, work hard and learn, but make time to be a good friend and work on developing strong relationships.”

Good grades and strong relationships—challenge accepted.

However, my Asperger’s also impacted how I interact with my friends. Since I regrettably did not spend more time with friends in high school, this led to the mindset that I needed to seize every moment I could to spend time with my friends at LBC. Unfortunately, sometimes I pursued my friends a little too intentionally. When I see my friends, I feel an urgent need to seek them out and talk to them immediately. Sometimes I am unaware of how my actions might cause my friends discomfort. This, according to “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s syndrome” by Tony Attwood, is consistent with the second way that Asperger’s individuals interact with people socially (p. 10). By God’s grace, I have loving friends who understand my feelings and are patient and honest with me when I engage in behavior that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Being an Asperger’s individual also affects how I handle changes in schedules or routines. Also confirmed by Attwood’s book, I experience higher levels of anxiety and fear than “normal” people. This is most prevalent when I experience changes in my life. I do not mean changes like getting a new t-shirt, but rather the big life-changing changes such as moving away to college, starting a new semester or losing a friend. These changes stir up intense feelings of fear and stress in me. When changes like that happen to me, I feel like everything is upended! Often it takes me a long time to work through these changes. However, in every change I can see God shaping me not only to be ready for the next big change but also to grow me so that I become stronger, as Romans 5:1-5 states that our sufferings build us up.

Living with Asperger’s syndrome, I was blessed to be born in a Christian family with loving parents and siblings who did not once make me feel like I was an outsider or a freak. I grew up in a church where I was welcomed and where I found many good friends, and I have found many other excellent friends here at LBC. However, I have met other autistic people who did not have the same good upbringing and who suffered bullying. Worse, they did not know God and hated themselves for being autistic.

At times, I feel pressure to hate myself whenever my autism causes me to mess up in my social life. However, when these times happen, I think about the man born blind in John 9, who Jesus healed. Jesus used the man’s condition to bring God glory, and I become comforted in the thought that He will do the same thing with me.

If any of you students at LBC have some kind of impairment, and Satan whispers lies that you cannot have friends or succeed in life because of your condition, don’t believe him. “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Rather remember the words of Psalm 139:14: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God uses our weaknesses to show two things: that He can use any situation for good and He uses sufferings for His glory.

Learn More About Asperger’s Syndrome

5 Symptoms of High-Functioning Autism

Social Skill Deficits and Anxiety in High-Functioning Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders

What is High-Functioning Autism?

The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome

10 Comments

  • DanaRae Brouillette says:

    A fantastic article! It helps others see a bit more clearly into his unique world. Well done and thank you!

  • Frances Carr says:

    Not sure if you’ll see this comment, Noah, but thank you for writing this!

  • Jeff says:

    Have you written something that we can use to help our child with Asperger’s to develop a meaningful relationship with God?

    • Amy Mongiovi says:

      Hello Jeff! We have shared your question with the author of this blog post!

    • Noah Lynch says:

      Hello Jeff,

      Thank you for asking. I have not written anything about the subject you mention, nor can I really give you an easy answer to this. But if it will help, I can share with you my experience, and what I have learned from my experience.
      I have found that my relationship with God was impacted by my Asperger’s. At first negatively, because I was resentful that I was less social and less able to make and develop friendships than other “normal” people. However as I spent time in God’s Word and praying, I came to thank God for making me as I am. Psalm 139:13-14 helped guide me to this place. I realized that God making me Autistic did not prevent me from being useful to His will or that He did not love me. On the contrary, I realized that I could do things for God’s will in ways that no “normal” person could do, and that my relationship with God could be deeper because I needed to lean on Him for the courage to come out of my shell and spend time with others. I guess if I could give you and your child any advice on growing a meaningful relationship with God it would be, 1: Trust in God. Study the Bible and pray continually. Ask Him for strength to be social and wisdom for where He wants you to go. 2: I would advise your child to see themselves as different, but not in a bad way. See him or herself as a unique person that God has made and whom God will use in ways no one could ever foresee. I saw myself in that light and it helped me to see how I could use my Autism for God.
      I hope that I have been helpful and I am sorry I cannot offer any more advice. God bless.

      In Christ, Noah Lynch

  • Noah Lynch says:

    Hello Jeff,

    I haven’t written anything about that subject, but I can share my own experiences and hopefully give some council on this issue. My relationship with God was a little rocky when I discovered that I was autistic. I resented Him for making me in a way that made it harder for me to be social and connect with others. I also wondered how He thought that making me as I was could accomplish anything in His plan. However, as I spent time in His Word, sought the advice of my pastor and parents, and prayed with God, I realized that just because He made me as I was, didn’t mean that He didn’t love me or have a purpose for me. He made me the way I am, because He loves me and could use me to accomplish His will in a way that no one else could do. Really, I can only give you and your child three pieces of advice on this. 1: See yourself as a beautiful creation and believe that God has created you for a unique purpose. 2: Be continually in God’s Word and in prayer. Particularly in passages that talk about the inherent value of every person. 3: Be in the company of people who love God and are in his Word. Being with people like that, helped grow me and drew me closer to God.
    I hope that I was of some help, but I cannot give much help further than that.
    In Christ, Noah Lynch

  • Sandy says:

    I LOVE THIS. Thank you for sharing. I have a question, my son (18) has Aspergers and I would like to get him a Bible. What Bible do you use? Thank you!

    • Hello Sandy, we are checking with the author of this post for an answer for you and your son!

    • Noah Lynch says:

      I use English Standard Version. That is the one that best fits the balance between capturing the language’s original meaning. while keeping it clear enough for me to understand.

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