“Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached your verdict?”
“We have, Your Honor.”
“How do you find the defendant, Willard Palmer?”
“We find him not guilty.”
David Long looked at his client. He’d defended Willard to the best of his ability, even though he knew the man was guilty as sin. Being the youngest associate in the firm, David had no other choice.
“You did it, David!” Willard exclaimed, slapping him on the back. You saved my sorry hide. My father will see to it you get a well-earned bonus.”
“Tell your father to keep his money. I know you well enough to know there will be more legal fees in the future.”
“Then I’ll make you a wealthy man.”
“Not me. This is my last case. I wish you well.”
Without waiting for Willard to make further comment, David shoved the papers littering the defense table into his briefcase and stalked out of the courthouse.
In the weeks of preparation for the trial, as well as the proceeding itself, David sensed an uneasiness settling into his being. It hadn’t been until the reading of the verdict that it struck him.
Above the voice of the foreman of the jury, David heard another, a softer more powerful one. “You are mine, David Long. The time has come for you to serve Me.”
David knew he’d heard the voice before, but then he’d been asleep. In his dreams, God told him of a life spreading the word of the Lord. Upon awakening, the dream was always vivid, its meaning always clear. It was only the weakness of his own flesh that kept him from acting upon it. What did he know about spreading the word of God? He was a lawyer; the son of a blacksmith, even though he went to church on Sunday and participated in evening devotions with his family, he wasn’t a preacher. He had neither the training nor the ....
Nor the what? He was a lawyer. He certainly wasn’t afraid of facing a packed courtroom to argue the innocence of a man he knew to be guilty. Surely, he would have no trouble facing a congregation to spread the word he knew to be the truth.
Hearing the voice as well as the words while he was awake frightened and yet exhilarated David. God wanted him, David Long, to spread his word. In his entire life, David had never heard of God speaking to a modern day man. God talked freely to men like Abraham and Moses, but not to someone in the nineteenth century.
Outside of the courthouse, David pushed through the crowd of people anxious to hear the verdict. Once away from the crush of the mob, David hurried to the building that housed his law office.
“How did it go, my boy?” Raymond Saunders, David’s employer inquired.
“We won,” David replied, flatly.
“You did a great job. There’s a raise waiting for you. I knew we made the right decision when we put you on this case.”
“Keep your raise, Mr. Saunders. I won’t need it. This is my last case. I’m leaving the law. I’m sick to my stomach over the miscarriage of justice in that courtroom today. Willard was guilty. The only reason he’s free is that I convinced the jury he was innocent.”
“Do I have to remind you that was your job? Mr. Palmer paid us handsomely for your services.”
“From now on, he’ll have to pay someone else. I will no longer take money to lie so a guilty man can go free. I have no other cases pending. I’m certain you’ll have no trouble replacing me.”
David turned from his astonished boss and made his way to the office he’d called his own for the past eight years. It ook only minutes for him to stack neatly the papers from his briefcase on the large mahogany desk. It amazed David how quickly he was able to pack up eight years of his life.
When he arrived home, his father, like his boss, was less than favorable
“You did what?” William Long demanded.
“I quit the firm. I’ve given up the law?”
“But why?’ his mother said, wringing her hands. “Being a lawyer has been your dream.”
“It was your dream, Mama, yours and Papa’s. God wants me to do His work now.”
“My son hears the voice of God,” his father lamented, thrusting his hands into the air. “Whoever heard of the son of a blacksmith talking to God?”
“Whoever heard of a shepherd boy killing a giant? A boy with the same name as mine slew Goliath with a rock and a sling. He did it because God guided him to do so. Today God decided to guide me to spread His word. Can I do less than obey?”