As told by Dave L.
Jesus’ work in my life is demonstrated by two simple stories, which I view as miracles. The first example is the story of how Jesus prepared Paige and me to start our law firm in 2002. The second example is the story about how He completed our most recent trial in 2015. In both stories, Paige and I recognize Jesus and the Holy Spirit leading us through a process to achieve God’s purpose.
Jesus Starts A Law Firm
Shortly after I graduated from law school in 1995 and started a family with Paige in 1996, Jesus started the David Legare Law Firm. This is not the full story of how Jesus started our law firm, but is a simple example of how Jesus prepared me to follow Him and used my friend, and His servant, to achieve God’s purpose.
When Paige and I started our family, Jesus decided to get my attention, because He wanted to change my relationship with Him. Jesus knew I did not 100% trust Him. If I was honest with myself, I did not trust Jesus to care for Paige and the girls. I saw too much injustice, misery and pain in the world to trust Jesus. I would care for my family. Consequently, I seized control of my circumstances— my professional relationships, career, finances, and worked to create the best life for us.
Jesus blessed us. I achieved a modicum of success. I won cases, advanced my career, and secured a lucrative job with a multinational firm. I thought my plan was working.
But I discovered a problem: the more I focused on my circumstances, the more I ignored Jesus. When I ignored Jesus’ blessings, He hit me with some painful experiences to get my attention, correct my thinking and change my relationship with Him. Through adversity, Jesus stripped me of several delusions: 1) I should love Paige and my daughters more than I loved Him; 2) I could protect them from evil better than He; 3) I could create a better life for us without Him.
I fought Jesus for control of my life until I simply could not fight anymore. Despite the appearance of success, I felt overwhelmed by the injustice that surrounded me at work. After several years, I finally confessed, “Jesus, I got nothing! I am exhausted and confused. I feel hopeless.” Because I saw no way forward, Jesus was able to grab my attention.
In response, Jesus performed a loving miracle for me. Although others may interpret the event as short, inconsequential interaction between friends, I believe it was a miracle and the culmination of years of work by Jesus to prepare me to trust Him enough to follow Him.
On a winter afternoon in 2002, I was sitting at my office desk confessing to Jesus my situation when I heard a staff member in the hall say we needed to deliver a letter to my friend, Judge Fagg. For some reason, I decided to deliver the letter. Lawyers don’t typically deliver letters, because law firms have “runners” who perform such tasks. I rationalized my decision by telling myself I just wanted to leave the office to clear my head. Whatever the reason, I set out to deliver the letter.
Arriving at Judge Fagg’s office, I was surprised to see him sitting in the lobby. I was more surprised when he expressed concern that I didn’t “look like myself.” (Gee Whiz! Didn’t he get social etiquette?) When he asked me if everything was ok, I was even more surprised when I told him the truth. (Holy Cow! I apparently didn’t know anything about social etiquette either.) I told him about my struggle to follow Jesus and how everything seemed to be going wrong. (Great! I had just committed professional suicide.)
Judge Fagg listened quietly. He then offered me a job as his law clerk. He explained his clerk had quit. He said he understood if I didn’t want the job, but he felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to offer it, and he wanted to be obedient to Jesus.
I was shocked. I honestly did not know what to think because a judicial clerkship is typically an entry level position for first-year lawyers. Given my résumé, I was far beyond such a humble position. What would people think?
Moreover, what about the pay cut? The bills! How would my family survive? A clerkship could not be Jesus’ solution. Did Jesus expect me to trust Him with everything? In the quiet confines of my conscience, I heard a Jesus whisper, “Yes, I expect you to trust Me with everything. I died for you, and I love you. Oh! By the way, I created everything.”
Staring at Judge Fagg, I realized Jesus wanted me to change my life, and Judge Fagg was offering me the opportunity to take a new path. Judge Fagg did not understand the consequences of his seemingly insignificant act because he was not aware of how Jesus prepared me for the miracle, however Judge Fagg’s willingness to obey the Holy Spirit helped me follow Jesus. Jesus didn’t give me the whole plan for the rest of my life. I just knew the clerkship was the first step to follow Him and, therefore, I said, “Yes.”
After I said, “Yes,” Jesus and many of His faithful servants helped Paige and me start a new law firm with the idea of Jesus being the senior partner. We then watched Jesus bless us and others in many ways.
Working for Jesus is not easy. Starting a law firm with no clients, no money, and no staff (other than a loving wife) is a foolish if not an impossible task, and we failed Jesus many times. But He continues to demonstrate his unfailing love, grace, and provision for all of us in unmistakable ways. There are too many examples of His love to give a complete account here, but, through the joy and pain, we watched Jesus perform miracles for thirteen years. He gave to us, and we gave to others.
I wish that was the end of the story. The story continues, because Jesus wanted to correct another problem in our relationship.
Jesus Takes Up a Widow’s Case
My problem is this: I quickly forget Jesus’ miracles. Although I accurately remember the past, I frequently hear a voice in my head saying, “Yes, Jesus may have performed a miracle in the past, but you cannot depend upon a miracle today. You must work harder, improve yourself, and gain the merit to succeed.” As I listen to the voice, I allow fear, impatience, and skepticism to drag me back to the old paradigm of fighting for control of my circumstances instead of focusing on Jesus and trusting Him. In other words, when Jesus asks me to walk on water, I watch the waves and swim instead of holding His hand and walking with Him. I then complain to Jesus about the cold water and difficult swim.
Fortunately, Jesus knew my problem long before I. He did not condemn me for my infirmity. Instead, He walked with me down a path for seven years to teach me a little more about trust, faith and wisdom.
The second story starts in 2008, when Jesus brought me a client. The client was a widow with many tears and little money. She spent the money from her husband’s estate to purchase a new house which, unbeknownst to her, had a serious problem. When she asked the builder for help, he refused. It was a relatively small case, but I agreed to represent her. When I asked the builder to fix the house, he not only refused, but used his vast wealth and lawyers to deny, hide, and spin the facts to punish us for asking. Although he could have fixed the problem without the slightest financial inconvenience to him, he instead spent ten times the amount of money on lawyers to prolong the case. In short, the man resolved to crush us in court.
I believed Jesus wanted me to represent the widow. Unfortunately, I did not initially ask Jesus for help in the case. I didn’t think I needed help for several reasons. First, the case initially presented relatively simple facts and legal issues. Second, I had prosecuted far more difficult and complex cases with success. Third, justice dictated the widow should win. I was confident I could convince the builder to do the right thing. I was wrong. (Pride goes before a fall!)
I fought for the widow until I simply could not fight anymore. (Yes, I was swimming in some darn cold water with big waves.) I finally confessed to Jesus shortly before trial, “Jesus, I got nothing! I am exhausted, confused and frustrated. What are you doing?” Jesus had my attention. I knew Paige and I needed help, because I saw no way to resolve the case without a potential disaster. The more I fought for the widow, the more the builder purposed to crush us. The builder had unlimited resources and would rather lose everything than capitulate to us. I eventually surrendered to Jesus.
In response, Jesus again performed another loving miracle. Jesus, once again, used a friend and His servant to focus my attention on Him and away from my circumstances. (Jesus apparently thought I was better off walking with Him than swimming by myself.) Although others may interpret the event as short interaction between friends, I believe it was miracle and the culmination of years of work by Jesus to teach me to seek Him in every situation.
On a hot, summer night on August 16, 2015, I was sitting at my office desk confessing my plight to Jesus when my daughter, Morgan, told me that Adam Greenwell was on the telephone. Adam wanted to know if he could come to the office and pray with me about the trial. The trial was starting the next day. I planned to work through the night, and I didn’t think I would have time to pray with Adam the next day. Consequently, I told Morgan, “If Adam wants to pray with me, he needs to come now!” (No, I am not in the habit of giving orders to pastors or Marine officers; but hey, we can agree I was not in a correct state of mind.)
I was surprised that Adam agreed to come to my office at 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday to pray with Paige, Morgan and me. When Adam arrived at my office, I was further surprised that he expressed serious concern and said, “You look really tired.” (Gee Whiz! Didn’t this guy understand moral support?) When he asked me what I needed most from him, I told him the truth. (I didn’t have anything to lose.) I told him about how I struggled to find Jesus in this case and how everything seemed to be going wrong. I was exhausted, confused and frustrated. Although I didn’t articulate my need clearly, I really needed Jesus to help me.
Adam listened quietly. He then said he believed the case was already won. (Yes, I thought he was crazy.) He said the Holy Spirit was telling him the case was already won. I just needed to follow the plan. (WHAT plan?!)
Further, Adam told me to go home and rest. Jesus would fight the rest of the battle for the widow; I just needed to be obedient. (At that point, I was convinced Adam was crazy.)
I was both shocked and skeptical. I had tried dozens of jury trials over 20 years. The night before trial I know the facts, the law, and the plan to win. I am confident and in complete control of the situation. On the night of August 16, 2015, I did not feel any of those things. Adam was telling me to go home and rest, but my plan was not in order. I could not explain why, but I felt completely oppressed and disoriented. I found myself confessing to Jesus, “I got nothing. If You want this poor widow to have justice, You need to show up and do something. I will be there tomorrow, but You need to execute the plan.” In the quiet confines of my conscience, I heard a Jesus whisper, “Good, I expect you to trust Me with everything. Oh! By the way, please read Proverbs 23:22 -23. I read: ‘Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up the case and will plunder those who plunder them.’”
After we prayed, I realized that Jesus wanted me to trust Him enough to follow Him. Jesus didn’t give me the whole plan for the trial. I just knew going home to rest was first step to follow Him. I therefore promised Adam, Paige and Morgan that I would go home, sleep, and trust Jesus to take up the case.
After I obeyed Jesus that night, He, and many of His faithful servants, achieved an extraordinary verdict for the widow. Paige and I watched Jesus perform five days of miracles that resulted in a fair verdict for the widow.
There is an interesting side note to the trial. People from the Church attended the trial. I have never had friends who were not lawyers, attend a trial. I never expected their support, but it was a great comfort to Paige and me. Interestingly, our friends’ presence in the court room bothered the defendants. In response, the defense team paid employees to sit in the court room.
In the end, Adam was correct. The case was already won when Jesus decided it. I just needed to trust Jesus enough to follow Him. In other words, I needed to trust Jesus enough to grab His hand, stand up and walk instead of wasting my strength swimming against the waves.
Working for Jesus is not easy. Representing people is not easy. I get confused, frustrated and impatient. Jesus continues, however, to demonstrate his unfailing love, grace and provision for us in unmistakable ways. The verdict for the widow is only one example. The verdict gave her justice and taught me more about my Lord. I wish the widow’s miracle was the final story; but I am sure there will be more, because Jesus knows I have more to learn about Him and God’s plan.
In conclusion, how does Jesus expect me to follow Him? I am not 100% sure, but He is teaching me to recognize His blessings and seek Him first in every situation. I say, “Yes” when I know Jesus asks something of me, and I share His blessings with others. Others may view the two stories of miracles as relatively insignificant events in God’s plan, but I am grateful Jesus knows me, and he loves and guides me anyway. I am confident Jesus will continue to develop my trust, faith and wisdom until I die. I expect then I will know how to follow Him. As Allen says, “I am not dumb, just slow.” But, it is ok, Jesus knows me.