When God Leads
As I was growing up it was easy to know what
direction my life should take. Usually, I’d hear a voice saying:
“Come in and set the table.” That direction came in the
personification of my parents. As a child of Christ it is equally
important to be in tune to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 30:21 promises that “thine ears shall hear a word behind
thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it...” In Galatians 5:25
we are instructed: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in
the Spirit.” But how do we know we are walking in the Spirit? How
do we feel the inner prompting?
While out for a drive, I switched on the
radio and listened to the fifteen-second news-clip, "The appeal of
ex-police officer Larry Nevers has been denied…." My stomach
knotted. Why do I care? I don’t know him. I had paid
only cursory attention to the very public trial.
Two years earlier
two police officers had been convicted in what the papers coined
as a "police brutality" case. I had read the headlines; was aware
of the sentence, and thought it was probably just. What I couldn't
figure out was why my stomach now felt like a lead ball. As I
drove home that day I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to
determine for myself what the truth was.
I spent the next
several weeks thumbing through old newspapers and magazine
articles, laying my hands on all the information I could find.
Despite knowing that God incited this desire in me I couldn’t but
wonder what my family and friends would say. Would I be
criticized? Or worse, would they listen with polite indifference?
I knew that this high profile case with strong opinions would also
compel me to take stand.
case was compared to the Rodney King beating in LA, and civil
leaders on both sides of the issue continued to make inflammatory
remarks. The city’s fear of a riot had driven a lot of public
opinion. I continued to remind myself, I'm doing this for my
satisfaction. I want to know who is right! A verse spun its
way into my thoughts: "It is wrong for a judge to favor the wicked
and condemn the innocent." Proverbs 18:5.
When trying to
determine if the Spirit is leading our actions it’s important to
remember that the Bible gives us the commands of God and the
history of the Spirit’s movement throughout time. God is
unchangeable. His love for justice and truth is a thread that runs
through history. If our prompting is consistent with what we know,
and who we know God to be, than that is evidence that we are being
led by God’s Spirit.
As I read more about the case it
became clear to me that regardless of what had occurred that
November night the officers involved had been denied many of their
Constitutional rights. Detroit was a racial hotbed and the media
and civic leaders quickly turned this into a racial case, but the
facts said otherwise. With careful research I saw that
the evidence pointed to an
officer trying to stop a drug addict from pulling out a gun, and a
suspect whose heart stopped because the exertion of fighting with
police while on drugs was too much for him.
However, after having followed
the Holy Spirit’s guidance I was in no better position to
understand what, if anything, I should do or say. My voice isn’t
usually heard above the din of an evening meal, certainly I wasn’t
able to make a public statement.
prayed. It’s been two years since this incident happened. This
is old news. The officers are in jail, their appeals have been
denied. My friends will think I’m crazy when I tell them how much
researched this. Besides, what can I do?
As always, it
is God that paves the way. We are only tools in His hands. If we
fail to do what we know to do, than “the stones along the road
will praise him.” Adversely, if his hand isn’t in our leading no
matter how hard we try we’ll be unsuccessful.
about three months later, the phone rang. It was my good friend,
Elizabeth. "Janice,” she said, “the other day you mentioned that
you researched old articles at the library. How do you go about
How do I tell
her without letting her know what I was researching? What would
she think if she knew? I answered, "What are you looking
so-called ‘police brutality case’? When those two officers were
A chill crept up
my spine. Was this the hand of God? "Actually," my voice squeaked
and I steadied it, before I continued. "I think I have everything
you need. I've been researching the case for the last three
When I first felt
God’s stirring in me I didn’t understand his purpose for leading
me in a direction that was against my nature. My friend and I,
both born introverts, became supporters, outspoken activists on
the police officers’ behalf, and personal friends of one of the
officers. Without specific intention my written views were
published, and I was able to shed light on the true facts of the
case to leaders who had formed their opinions based upon hearsay
and headlines. Elizabeth served on Larry Nevers defense team.
Together we were able to share with him the burdens and pitfalls
of our legal system, as well as the joy when his appeal was
granted and he was released from prison. In order to do so we
needed to be aware of the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and be
ready to take action when we heard His call. By doing so we became
the instruments that God used to perpetuate His plan.
©Janice LaQuiere 2004