If you don’t want to read personal and/or Christian-oriented posts, just skip this one. Otherwise, read on.
Since March of last year (almost 15 months ago), I’ve been battling a custody lawsuit over my three sons from my first marriage. There were allegations of various forms of abuse. I was deeply hurt by the accusations; my kids mean the world to me. I may not be the best dad in the world, and I may make mistakes from time to time (who doesn’t?), but I would never hurt my kids. There were other things that made this situation worse than you can probably imagine, but I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that it has been difficult.
This matter first came to trial back in April of 2007 (hence the reasons behind these two posts), but for a variety of reasons it kept getting postponed (“continued” is the legal term). We didn’t understand why God didn’t work in the situation to bring the case to trial. We didn’t have a lawyer and were going up against my ex-wife’s attorney, who had a reputation for being ruthlessly effective. It was so stressful and so emotionally taxing that we just wanted it done.
We prayed about the matter, and we asked others to pray about the matter. Several times we thought that perhaps the issue was going to go away, only for it to jump right back up again.
Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, we received a letter in the mail from the ex-wife’s attorney. Our hearts sank—now what? What else could happen? Now what kind of papers were being filed with more accusations? Instead, it was a miracle that only God could have provided: my ex-wife’s attorney was withdrawing from the case!
We were stunned. We’d never seen this coming. Sure enough, when the case came to trial this past Monday, there was no attorney for the opposing side. For the next two days, we endured a parade of witnesses singing a litany of accusations against me and my wife. Along the way God gave us the openings we needed—a witness who testified that he/she was missing critical facts about some of the events that had been witnessed, and those facts changed his/her view of the situation; a witness who testified he/she had open animosity toward me and my wife and that animosity affected his/her interactions with us and the kids; a social worker who’d evaluated our house who testified that there was no signs of abuse of any kind; and the admission that things were occurring within the opposing household that themselves could be viewed as abusive. God was there every step of the way, giving me the questions to ask, the things to say, the information to present to the judge, and the courage to face my accusers and their allegations head-on.
On Wednesday, the hearing wrapped up and the judge issued the ruling. The kids would be staying with us! We were given a resounding victory, vindicated from the charges and commended by the judge for our efforts in raising the kids. It was everything we had hoped for and asked for. Truly God is good!
Looking back on it now, it’s evident why the Lord ensured the case kept getting postponed. God’s time is not our time, and in His time he was able to remove resources from the opposing side and strengthen our case by adding witnesses and testimony that we wouldn’t have had months earlier.
This trial—and I use that term both literally and figuratively—has taught my wife and I a great deal. We have seen God work in mighty and powerful ways, but not in the ways in which you might expect, and certainly not within the timeframes that we might expect. But His time is perfect, and we simply needed to trust Him. Although we may not have understood His plan, it was for our benefit. I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who lifted up our family in prayer.