God's been kinda nudging me since early this morning to share something that happened yesterday....no place special, just my tiny Midwestern corner of the world. I hope that it blesses you as it did me, and if it brings a tear at all, I pray that it's a tear of gratitude, and that you find someone to wipe it away for you. God promises us that when we finally see Him, He will wipe away every tear personally...until then, we need to be His hands, and support and care for each other.
Some of you know that I'm a court reporter. I don't work in a court (generally), but I'm part of the discovery process that attorneys go through before they actually get to court. I take depositions, which help people in the event that they actually go to trial. Yesterday I had the most unusual thing happen, and I'm convinced that God was in the room, that He orchestrated the entire event.
The case had something to do with divorce, that much I knew because of the nature of the "Smith v. Smith" name of it (not it's real name...). These tend to be ugly proceedings, and I wasn't looking forward to it, even less so when I discovered that it was a child custody case, and that little 5-year-old Cameron's mom was suing for full custody. Well, I'm here to tell you that it didn't happen....I was there for nearly two hours, and I witnessed people struggling to resolve a difficult situation, I witnessed hurt and pain....and I never took a single word down.
My client, the attorney who ordered the deposition, started out with a sort of mini-lecture which was meant as much for his own client (Cameron's dad) as it was for the other client. He said that he didn't want to go through with this deposition, but that he was prepared to, and he promised (albeit sadly) that there would be blood-letting before they were finished. He guaranteed the witness that she would end up hating him by the time he was done with her. The nature of divorce proceedings and everything that goes with them, he said, is very painful -- and then he explained further. He talked about how the marriage contract is the only contract that we step into in life that has so much emotion, love and trust wrapped up in it, and that's exactly why it hurts so much when it's broken. In a child custody battle, everything is built on character assassination. Further, he stressed that in a case like this, the person hurt the most will be Cameron.
He promised both clients that if they went forward with this, and if by some miracle it even got past the judge, every single change in circumstance from that moment on would have to be adjudicated. A change in school district? Take it to court. A change in jobs? Take it to court. Obviously it was a case that would bring lots of money for this attorney who laid it all out for them, and then urged them to communicate, to talk to each other and try to resolve their "parenting time" without having to do a deposition and go to court.
I should tell you that there's nothing I love more than getting the record down, in terms of my job, and my fingers were just bustin' to move. But I was as still as still could be. I listened as they worked through painful details like shared custody, and how to sort that all out. I listened to hearts, I saw them struggle to look at each other as concerned parents, fighting to get past the pain they had both inflicted on each other, for the sake of their little boy. I haven't been a court reporter long enough to get cynical and jaded about the justice system, but I'm still grateful that this happened early in my career. I'm amazed at how much God's presence could be felt.
Then the attorney said, "In the words of Rodney King, 'Can't we all just get along?'" After two hours, they were still talking, but I was sent home. He told me he'd call me if they needed to reschedule a deposition.
Even as I write this, I'm reminded of the song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", and the line that keeps jumping out at me is "God is not dead nor doth He sleep". So often we see pain go unchecked, we see people eagerly sue each other for their "rights". How often have we asked, "God, are you seeing this? Lord, are you paying attention here?" This was just one family, in one little Midwestern town...but isn't this how it all starts? And doesn't this show us that God, indeed, is paying attention?
I don't know if that attorney (his first name is Ron) is a Christian, but I'm asking you to thank God with me for him, and for the good work that he did yesterday. If he's not, pray that God will continue bringing him closer, as He is obviously doing. Pray for Cameron, and his mom and dad (Peggy and Paul). Pray peace for them, and healing of the hurt.
Chris (Received on Wednesday December 8th, 1999)
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