By Del Starr, a pseudonym, all rights reserved. Posted Oct. 21, 2015.
Dianne and Peter still made every attempt to have Tina’s family reunited. Tina didn’t really want the divorce but she knew that it was not in her children’s best interests nor was it safe for her to return to Mark until he admitted that there was a problem and he obtain some type of assistance for anger management, and they agreed.
The divorce case went to court. It seemed as if the entire church showed up that day. It was a noisy group that sat in the hallway, waiting to be admitted to the courtroom.
Mark was called to the stand. He admitted under oath that he had struck Tina. “Only once,” he said.
A tape was played for the judge; not the tape that Tina had previously given to the police but another. In this tape Mark had kicked the children’s six-month-old puppy across the yard. The children were screaming, “NO, DADDY, NO, DADDY, PLEASE, DADDY, NO!” Mark was heard to shout, “That dog comes near me again and I’ll kill it!”
Dianne’s heart broke as she pictured her grandchildren watching and listening to this debacle.
A family friend was called to the stand and then the name of the pastor was called. The very same pastor who had stated to Peter that the church did not get involved in family disputes now came forward to be a personal witness, in his official capacity as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist church, for Mark.
He testified that he had always had a problem with Tina’s capabilities as a mother, and that she seemed to be unstable. It was time for cross-examination.
When Tina had first separated from Mark, Dianne had suggested to her that she approach key people within the church and have them write letters for her, describing her abilities as a mother. The pastor had been one of those key people.
Tina’s attorney approached the pastor. “Sir, do you recognize this letter?”
“Yes, sir,” the pastor said humbly.
“Did you write this letter?” the attorney questioned.
“Yes, sir,” the reply was softer this time.
“In this letter you say that Tina is very capable and you find no problems as to her abilities to mother her children. Is that correct, sir?”
His head hanging in shame, the pastor mouthed the words, “Yes, sir.”
“No further questions, your honor.”
The pastor walked from the court room with his head bowed low. In the hallway he was observed to be crying.
Dianne now could see that not only was the church only concerned about the financial assets of this elder and deacon, but that even the pastor, a man supposedly anointed of God, was willing to lie, not just by stating that the church did not become involved in these matters and then testifying against her, but also by stating that he had always had problems with Tina’s ability to mother her children.
Ultimately, despite false testimony from the church pastor, Tina’s divorce was granted, but more questions now arose in Dianne’s mind as to the validity of the religion she had once held dear to her heart.
Peter and Dianne were discussing religious doctrines one evening.
“Well, Peter,” Dianne stated, “that was because God raised Moses from the dead.”
Dianne does not recall the specific subject they were discussing but she well remembers the statement she made and the response from Peter.
Slowly Peter turned to Dianne and with a bewildered look on his face asked, “Where did you find that in the Bible?”
Dianne knew that it was in the Bible. She had studied it in school. Now she must find it and show Peter. She read the entire account of Moses’ leading the children of Israel from Egypt. She read of their arrival at the border of the Promised Land. She read of Moses’ death but the account of his being raised again was not there. Dianne knew, however, that many things were referred to in the New Testament, giving a broader perspective on the Old. Dianne turned to her concordance. Nothing listed. She began to look for a possibility that it was mentioned in another way.
She could find nothing.
But she knew it was there, somewhere, if she could only find it. A thought struck her. Yes, that’s what she would do. The account of Moses was in her precious Ellen G. White books. She would find it there and then reference the passages that Sister White used to prove that Moses had been raised.
Ah! There it was, just as she knew it would be. Yes, there it stated that Moses had indeed been raised from the dead. Hurriedly, Dianne turned to the back of the book. Yes, there was the Biblical reference. Jude 9. Dianne grabbed her Bible and turned to Jude 9. She read the text, “Yet Michael the archangel when, contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
Dianne quickly took up her Ellen G. White book again. Surely there must be more. This said nothing about Moses being raised from the dead. She pored over the account and the Scriptural texts given. That’s all there was. Dianne could not believe that she had so firmly fixed her belief in one of the tenets of the church on such flimsy evidence but it was there in front of her. She had to admit defeat to Peter.
Dianne had asked God to show her Who He is and He had been showing her. Now she could not deny that He had also shown her that her beliefs were not based upon what the Bible stated. It was a seemingly small issue, though. Perhaps God would direct her later to find the evidence she needed. Rather than that, however, God had other things to show Dianne.
Repeatedly now, as she would share thoughts with Peter, she was faced with not being able to show Peter from the Bible that what she said was true. She could not ask Peter to accept Ellen White as a prophetess. He would have to be shown from her writings as compared to the Bible, that she was a prophetess, and Dianne was not having much luck.
It was a heartbreaking day for Dianne when she was forced to admit to Peter and to herself that much that she had believed was not according to the Bible. Now she was extremely hurt.
“Peter, I won’t have those books in the house if they don’t speak the truth. I’m going to burn every one of them.” Dianne spoke from a grieving heart.
“Dianne,” Peter soothed, “Don’t do that. There are many blessings to be found in Ellen White’s writings. She was a Christian lady. I don’t believe that she was deliberately dishonest and I believe that God has been able to use her writings to bring people to Himself. We have many books here that are not perfectly correct according to the Bible and you wouldn’t want to burn those. Just set them aside for a while, Dianne. You are hurt right now but you will understand later. Trust me.”
Tears coursed down Dianne’s cheeks. She was not only hurt but she was embarrassed in front of Peter. Also, her entire belief structure had crumbled before her very eyes. Only one thing was she sure of right now and that was that she could depend upon God to lead her in the right path and that her faith was strong in believing the words of the Bible. She would never again be led to believe something that did not correspond with the Bible.
Another thing that disturbed Dianne was that her entire circle of support was in members of the Seventh-day Adventist church. She had not reached out to the community while she had been in Montana and now she was left with nothing. No belief structure, no support. All she had now was Peter. He would be her companion in her search for God.
She felt God’s presence in her life. She looked over the events of her entire lifetime and realized God had never left her alone. Not while she sat in a bar, not while she jumped from bed to bed, not when she had discovered the affair between her husband and her mother, not when she learned of Gary’s problem, not when she had been traveling on trucks cross-country to get to her children. God had always been at her side, always encouraging, always holding her up.
Dianne also realized now, that her salvation was nothing that she could accomplish by her own actions. She was totally dependent upon the shed blood of Jesus, and realizing that, she also knew that during the entire time that she had been telling God that she knew she was unworthy but asking Him to understand her loved ones, she had been expressing her faith in Jesus Christ. She now threw herself on His mercy and submitted her entire life to His direction.
For the first time in her life, she felt safe and loved by God.