There is a road near my home called “Hassert Drive.” It is not far from the place where the disgraced Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, was raised. He was a high school gymnastics coach who won election to Congress from our local district. After serving for several terms, he rose to prominence as the Speaker of the House, the highest legislative office in the land. He retired many years ago, but recently became embroiled in a serious controversy. The FBI had been monitoring his bank account and noticed an unusual pattern of withdrawals. He had been taking out large amounts of cash, but never all in one lump sum. He would always limit his withdrawals to just under $10,000 each.
This may seem like innocuous behavior, but there is a federal law designed to catch drug lords in the act of laundering their money. It forbids multiple withdrawals or deposits of $10,000 or more to hide the proceeds from drug trades. This law often catches innocent people whose money comes from other sources. In this case, it entrapped the Speaker. He had been making regular withdrawals of just under $10,000 to avoid the paperwork that would have triggered an investigation. Apparently, someone had tipped off the Feds that this was hush money Hastert was paying a former athlete whom he had molested in his days as a high school wrestling coach. One day the Feds moved in and arrested him. The news scandalized the people who had elected him to office and supported him for so many years. His name became synonymous with sleaze.
So, when the city fathers of Bolingbrook Illinois, decided to name a street after one of the founding families whose name just happened to sound an awful lot like “Hastert,” they ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from the “low information” crowd. It eventually got so bad that they had to erect signs along the roadway drawing attention to the difference in the spelling of the names. It reads, “Hassert Road is named after the Hassert family, NOT Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House.“
I got to thinking about how hard it must have been for the victims of this man to watch him rise to such heights of fame and fortune (for the once lowly public school employee retired with a fortune large enough to open him to blackmail). I am sure that they thought no one would believe that this dignitary could be guilty of pedophelia. So the victims must have suffered in silence for decades while Hastert continued his rise to power. Then, when they saw how wealthy he had become, they seized the opportunity for a little payback. Actually, it was a lot of payback, some $3 million. Although it was technically blackmail, no one in the media ever faulted them for their behavior. I have a lot of sympathy for these folks myself because I understand in a special way what they were going through.
Suffer Injustice Patiently
One of the hardest things in life for me is to suffer injustice and indignities and then watch as the oppressor not only escapes justice but prospers. But God has vindicated me on a number of occasions. My son was molested by a missionary who worked with a cooperating mission in northern Japan at the camp I directed. I found out years later when he suddenly became very violent and went for counseling. He told the counselor that he was angry because his parents hadn’t protected him from the predator.
I immediately contacted the mission and asked them to give an account of this man’s behavior. For three years they steadfastly denied that he ever molested anyone. Then another victim heard my story and contacted me. He was the son of one of their own missionaries. The same pedophile had abused him and his two brothers. With this information I contacted the mission again and they finally came clean, producing an entire chronology of his actions. They had known his history the entire time they were accusing me of lying and extortion. But, by God’s sovereign intervention, their lying and deception eventually caught up with them.
When my son was going through his violent phase, his mother decided to send him away to a very expensive boarding school without consulting me, even though our divorce decree stipulated that I was to have a voice in all decisions regarding his disposition. I did a little research and discovered that the facility they chose had a history of verbal and emotional abuse. None of the teachers were certified and most of them came from very troubled backgrounds. One of them even boasted he had set a homeless man on fire once. When I petitioned the judge to remove my son to a Christian institution with a sterling reputation, the boarding school officials said his condition was too delicate. So although the judge disallowed my request, he did reduce my portion of the expenses to a level commensurate with the costs of the other boarding school.
After 30 months of “Emotional Growth Therapy” involving group sessions in which students viciously piled on each other, my son finally “graduated.” But, despite the enormous cost of the school, the academic part of the program was so weak that he had to sit for his GED to get a high school diploma.
During his stay, the officials confiscated all my letters at the instructions of his mother. Another father who had the same experience brought suit against the school and put them out of business. Even today you can hear the testimony of these poor abused students on a Youtube Channel called Cedu Documentary. Their stories are heart rending. But, once again, the Lord rewarded my persistence as I patiently waited for Him to vindicate me.
Endure Humiliation Graciously
My ex-wife got involved with two different married men during our marriage. She married the last one, whose wife was dying of cancer when they began dating behind my back. Because of no-fault divorce, she was not penalized for her behavior. She just kept coming after me again and again for my money until I had barely enough to live on. She was awarded custody of the kids even though her daughter once referred to her as a “slut” for the way she carried on with other men.
But the most amazing thing is that I would always catch her in her devious ways. One time I was sitting in a movie theater in another town on a Friday night when she walked in to the same show hand-in-hand with her boyfriend. They didn’t even notice me as I watched them snuggling up and laughing from my seat nearby. Then she finally caught my eye, whispered something in her boyfriend’s ear, and beat a hasty retreat. This was just after I had moved out of the house to spare my own sanity. I called her later that evening and asked her if she had fun. She said, “Please don’t tell the kids!”
On another occasion, my daughter asked me to come to the hospital where her mother had just been admitted for some gastro-intestinal condition. Just as I walked into her room, the doctor came in. The first words out his mouth were, “I have never seen anyone with such a severely tipped uterus!” Tipped uterus? I said, “Wait a minute, doctor. I thought she was in here for an abdominal procedure of some sort.” He said, “She came in for a tubal ligation,” which means she got her tubes tied. I said, “She has to have her husband’s permission for that procedure and she never told me about it!” He made no response. She was just buying a little insurance against her boyfriend getting her pregnant. So I did a little research on tipped uteruses and discovered that they make sexual intimacy extremely painful. Now that was music to my ears!
Leave Vindication to God
That was all many years ago and I am now happily remarried. But my wife has a daughter who is not at all unlike my ex-wife. Very devious, dishonest, and selfish. She married a guy who is just like her and they had our first grandchild. He wouldn’t allow my wife into the delivery room even though her daughter was begging for her help. Later they fell on hard times and we put them up. To show how ungrateful they were, they began telling us what we could and could not do in our own house. Everything had to be just right for their baby. So we politely invited them to leave.
Well, he eventually lost his job and had to put his wife to work. She got a job in another part of the state and they moved away. They would not even give us their new address. But their profligate spending finally caught up with them and they had to return the car my wife had purchased for her daughter years ago. They could no longer afford the insurance.
Knowing that we attend church on Sunday mornings, they arranged to have the car delivered by her father-in-law. But it just so happens that I had stayed home that day because I had other commitments. We had recently moved into a gated retirement community. So in order to sneak the car in without our noticing, they had to arrange for the police to get them through the gate. At about 10 am I heard a firm knock on our front door and opened it to two big state troopers. They asked me if the car on the curb belonged to me. There was the father-in-law completely embarrassed that he had caught me at home and very apologetic to the officers for wasting their time. I told them that all he had to do was call me from the gate and I would have let him in. That was the first time since moving here that I had ever stayed home from church on a Sunday morning – the same Sunday they picked to return the car.
Don’t Give in To Evil
Psalm 37 says, “Fret not yourselves because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness…Commit your way to the Lord and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger and forsake wrath ! Fret not yourself: it tends only to evil. The evildoer shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” (Ps 37:1-3; 5-9)
A good friend told me that if his wife had treated him with the contempt my ex-wife had shown me, he would have shot her. Believe me, I thought about it often, and to be honest, I still do from time to time. But somehow God restrained me despite the abject humiliation I experienced at her hands and in which she so obviously delighted. But my anger only led to depression from which it took years to recover. Meanwhile, the Lord had been interceding on my behalf in truly remarkable ways. The series of “coincidences” which he engineered were far too many to be pure happenstance (there are many others I could tell you about).
But the hard part is waiting — waiting for the Lord to do something while the pain seems unbearable. God did take action on my behalf and on behalf of my wife and I thank him for that. But the real cream on the cake is coming when God awards our inheritance for patiently waiting for him and not taking matters into our our own hands! That day will not come until he establishes his kingdom on this earth, but it is every bit worth waiting for!!