My name is called and I know my card has been pulled. How did I get here? What have I done?
The gavel echoes and the judge conducts business as usual. His words pierce me as I constantly object in my mind. “Defendant: Lori Rodeheaver; charge: DUI.
“That’s absurd!” I interrupt. “I’ve never driven under the influence of alcohol in all my days! I’m a Christian.”
“Order!” his stern voice replies as he corrects my foolish assumption. “Not driving, dear, discourse.”
Discourse? Discourse. Discourse under the influence of demons. I know his charge well. My thoughts race as all my pre-trial arguments shatter to the ground. Now, a defendant without witnesses, I stand alone, but, now, on my knees.
“What is your defense, Ms. Rodeheaver? How do you plead?” The judge inquires without a hint of mercy.
“Defense? I have no defense. I am wholly guilty as charged, Your Honor.”
No further statements are necessary. The verdict is read.
“Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.”
Just before sentencing, my judge lays down his gavel. He steps down from his bench and kneels on the cold wooden floor next to my ashamed, tear-streaked face. His arms embrace my weary soul and he whispers, “You are guilty, but I have proven you innocent. I am your witness and my testimony is always true. I am your friend and I forgive you. You are free to go.”
I unfold my hands and stand up as he bids the courtroom to rise and sing praise to Him alone. His mercies endure forever. Amen.