I asked Zabeth how she and Paul were doing. She wrote to tell me and her sentiment touched me. With her permission I print it for you to read. A qualifier first: I have mentioned before that Paul and Zabeth have faith in a sovereign God and this faith relationship is important to them. It is evident in the way she deals with her feelings.
“How are we today? We have had a hard last few days. While we have been sick we are doing better in that area, but I have been feeling low emotionally. I miss my children daily, but sometimes when I realize the trial will be coming to an end eventually I start to fear that a decision will be made to permanently separate me from my children forever. How does a parent live through the final goodbye visit? If one was guilty then one could understand and feel the ruling was deserved and if one truly loved the children one might acknowledge that it would be better for the children, but when it is a wrong decision, when love is genuine and no harm done...Will God expect this of us? Would this bring Him Glory by sacrificing our children in order for us to take up a call of helping others and thereby bringing Glory to Him in the answers to prayers of other parents? Or will bringing our children home bring Him Glory? What is His will for our lives? Will we see earthly justice? I pray so, but these are some of the questions I fear to answer.”
Just imagine parents having to wrestle through possibilities like that simply to come to terms with an inconceivable outcome.
The options as Zabeth reviewed them were these. Perhaps in the permanent forfeiture of their children, God has a purpose to accomplish a glorious ending in some undisclosed way. Although she ventures down that dark road far enough to conjecture whether childless, she and Paul might be expected by God to be able to help other people with damaged lives. Or perhaps in returning their children to them, God will be glorified in this family, in their story of tenacity and faith, and their nurturing of these children into adulthood so that each walks an upright life or accomplishes something remarkable.
“What is his will for us? Will justice be done? I pray so, but these are some of the questions I fear to answer, she wrote.” What an honest response this was to my “how are you doing?” query. The legal and judicial sides not withstanding, this is the human side of this sad and in some ways merciless mess.
* Painting: 'Time to Say Goodbye' by Alfred Gockel, who creates powerfully distinctive abstracts which are alive with rich, primary colors, deep black accents, ebbing and flowing lines, and intensely kinetic motion. Toggle his name to see more works.