“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
Thank you to all who prayed for us during my husband's recent experience with the court system. As some of you know, he is a law enforcement officer and was involved in an incident on duty ten years ago. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the death of an individual. The situation was one you could never have trained for. Although the investigation concluded my husband acted in a responsible manner within policy guidelines, the victim’s family has made repeated attempts (at least five) through the courts to make him responsible. The outcome of almost all proceedings was the same—his actions were justifiable.
As with most of our stories (testimonies), there is much more “back story,” lessons we’ve been learning about God’s faithfulness throughout our times of need. During the ten years, my husband’s physical injuries related to the incident required many corrective surgeries—some being delayed when I was diagnosed with (and successfully treated for) cancer.
On July 22, 2019, after ten years back and forth between dismissals and appeals, his case went to a civil trial. A jury of sixteen was chosen, but four of them would be alternates randomly chosen at the end to stand by in case a juror could not deliberate. It was all part of God’s plan.
My husband spent multiple days on the stand testifying about the incident. Experts from both sides also took the stand. The opposing side persecuted my husband day in and day out, and our side was not allowed to rebut their testimony. During the trial many unexpected medical needs surfaced in our family, dividing my focus and responsibilities. I spent my time between the hospital, court house, work and home. My husband spent most of his time preparing for the next day's proceedings. This went on for three weeks. We were being put to the fire, and the devil was doing his best to break us.
In the midst of all this, we tried our absolute best to praise him in our storm, one that had remained for ten years. Every day I sat in the courtroom, witnessing the proceedings and watching the jurors to see if we could read any of them as to which way they leaned. The trial went to the jury and two alternates were randomly chosen to remain. The other two were released and one of them was visibly upset. I had been watching her during the trial, sensing she was not on our side, so I was relieved she had been dismissed. I didn’t know she asked the clerk if she could be considered first should another alternate be needed.
My husband's fate was now in their hands. He was worried that his reputation would be irreparably damaged if they came back with a verdict against him. He had been a conscientious law officer for 33 years and planned to retire at the end of the year. A verdict against him wasn’t the way he wanted to leave his career.
On the first full day of deliberation one of the jurors called in sick, and they would need to call an alternate. Random selection reinstated the juror I thought was not in our corner. My heart sank, but we only needed nine on our side.
A verdict was reached in a little over an hour. Hearts pounding, hands sweating, I think we were holding our breath when the verdict was read--full exoneration for my husband. Ten years of pent up stress and tears flowed as we clung to each other.
As the lady I thought was a hostile juror passed us, she touched my arm. When we all made it out to the corridor, she walked over and asked my husband if she could give him a hug. She thanked him for his service and his actions that fateful day. It turned out she was our biggest advocate in the jury room. She told us she had prayed all night that she would be called back…for our family.
Wow! Had I been wrong! I had praised God in our storm, but I did not fully trust He was in control of the jury—because the system had failed us so many times before. A Huge lesson for me.
I share all this, first of all, to say thank you to all who prayed for us. We were not allowed to talk about it for a very long time and it felt very lonely. But the fervent prayers were heard and our whole family appreciates it.
Secondly, I want to encourage you. I know many of us have major battles going on, some wars that have left and come back, some that have been lingering for a very long time, and some storms that seem to just never end. I also know that sometimes we just feel weak and tired. We do our best to be faithful, but sometimes we have just barely enough energy to sustain.
I can say after this experience, He Will sustain us. He fights for us when we are weak. His timing may be unknown, but His plan will always prevail. And He knows when we are trying our best to be faithful. He recognizes that.
My husband will be retiring in December. He has had an amazing career--we’ve had our share of “ups” and “downs”--but he has a servant's heart, loves the Lord, and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for him now.
Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for being our support team that we so desperately needed.
By Misty Wyatt
Editor’s Note: This Saturday CCEA’s Cancer Support Group meets at the home of Marie Hyepock. All ladies who have dealt with, or are dealing with, cancer issues in themselves or in family members are invited to come for a time of fellowship and prayer. We want you to know that you are not alone on this journey. For further information, please call Marie Hyepock at (714) 955-3080 or Laurie Schroeder at (951) 660-8789