I Was Facing Jail Time, Then God Moved

Paula, Georgia, United States


[as told to Then God Moved editor Adira Polite]

Eight years ago, the Atlanta government started prosecuting cosmetologists working without business licenses. Like every other hairstylists in my community, I had a cosmetology license, but had no idea that I even needed a business license. We all got cited.

The fine was $750, plus another $268 in court costs. That was a ton of money to me; it took a lot out of me to come up with $750. I was still struggling to scrape up money for the court costs when I heard that a coworker had been assigned community service instead of fines. I figured since I’d already paid the fine itself, I should be able to get community service in place of the court costs. 

On my court date, my boyfriend and I showed up with all the money I had and asked for community service. The judge denied my request. She then told me that I’d have to spend two days in jail for showing up without the full $268. 

Before I could even process it, officers escorted me out of the courtroom, down a flight of stairs, and into the pretrial detention center. When they took my shoes and my jewelry, it hit me that this was really happening. I was terrified, but I knew that God could and would show up. I prayed very intentionally; I asked God to pour His favor on me and show the judge that His authority trumps hers. God started moving immediately.

Back by the courtroom, my boyfriend was on the phone with his mother, who knew the judge on my case. She’d previously worked for the judge and had even helped decorate the judge’s wedding. She immediately came down to the courthouse and brought half of her monthly benefit check with her — enough to cover my remaining court costs. 

Together, my boyfriend and his mom delivered the money to the fine department. Still, the judge would not release me; “she has to serve her two days,” she said. Refusing to back down, the two of them went to the jail, where they ran into the pretrial supervisor. The supervisor balked at my story. Without hesitating, he told them, “I get off at six o’clock and she will be released before I go.”

He didn’t run it by anyone; not his supervisors and not even the judge. He simply ordered the booking officers to release me. This man, an employee of the detention center, overrode a judge’s order, just like that. That is what God’s favor looks like. When the guards told me I was free to go, I was shocked; I knew God would work, but I didn’t expect Him to work that fast! 

I was relieved to get out, but I soon realized that I’d missed a scheduled hair appointment with a client. I wasn’t expecting an arrest, so I’d only told her that I might be a little late. At that point in my career, I really needed the money!

Low and behold, when I got back to my car and checked my phone, I saw a text from that client: “Can we reschedule for tomorrow?” Again, I was in awe. God didn’t just save me from the huge jail problem; even down to the peripheral issues, He had my back.

The power of prayer is mind-boggling. God operates in the funniest of ways and no problem is too big or too small for him. Things may not work out as you hope or expect, but it works for your good. God moves; all you have to do is ask. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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