Family Sees Miracle Of Prayer And Hope, Of 'Higher Purpose,' In Return Of Child
By Michael H. Brown
Rarely does the nation get to witness the result of prayer -- of hope and prayer -- as powerfully as it has with the return of the abducted Utah teen Elizabeth Smart. The family never gave up hope. They always believed there was the chance she was alive. Even after nine months, they held their faith. They still prayed, showing dramatically that prayer and hope can do anything. It sustained the girl. She was healthy. It stopped those who had abducted her from harming her. She was held in prayer and it worked.
What were the chances? What percentage of youngsters abducted by a demented man, gone for nearly a year, live to talk about it?
When it is God's will, hope can do anything. Never give up hope.
Here are some excerpts of interviews with CNN and other media:
"Ed Smart was ecstatic," noted John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted," in speaking about the reaction of the girl's father. "Over the last several months we were talking and he was talking about, you know, the depths of despair -- that they wondered if Richard Ricci had taken the secret of Elizabeth to the grave, that maybe Ricci had been the one who kidnapped her because he had been the handyman in the house. He had some dark moments, but he was always praying he'd find her alive."
When asked by interviewer Larry King if he ever doubted the girl was alive, her uncle Tom said: "You know doubts are an important part of faith, I think. You know we just did the very best we could and we -- you know, from the very beginning, this has been such a miraculous thing. The community support, the neighborhood, the prayers of a nation and searching. I've always felt that there was a higher purpose behind this. We've always prayed that this person whoever had her would take care of her."
Days after her cousin Elizabeth disappeared last summer, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune, Sierra Smart received a bouquet of roses from a stranger at a community prayer vigil. The stranger was convinced the girl would someday return safely, and asked Sierra to give Elizabeth the flowers when she came home. The now-wilted floral arrangement has hung on Sierra's bedroom wall for over nine months. "I can't wait to give these flowers to Elizabeth," said Sierra, 21, fighting joyful tears just hours after her cousin was found alive and healthy Wednesday, walking along a Sandy street with her two alleged captors. "This is a miracle. I'm just floating on air."
"I don't think there's been a little girl prayed for more in the history of the world than this little girl," said Tom Smart.
"Words cannot express how relieved and overjoyed I am to learn that Elizabeth is alive," said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. "The entire country waited and prayed in anguish when she was taken. Our prayers have been answered."
Another uncle, David, described the finding of the girl as "an incredible miracle has been brought to our family. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the prayers around the world. Do miracles still exist?
"And the answer is, yes and we have Elizabeth back."
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