Meridian Star

March 20, 2014

Quiet Corner: Elizabeth Smart

By Virginia Dawkins
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — “I think there are far more miracles in our lives than we may ever realize. Like flickers of light among the darkness, they remind us that God is there and that He cares,” writes Elizabeth Smart in her book, "My Story."

    Elizabeth Smart was barely fourteen years old when she was abducted. She was forced out of her bed in the middle of the night, a knife was held to her throat, and she heard these commanding words: “Do what I say or I will kill you and your family.”

    The knife, long and sharp, was pressing at her spine as the evil man forced her to walk up the side of a mountain to a filthy campsite where she would be chained like an ill-treated animal. For the next nine months, she would suffer pain, starvation, slavery, and horrible sexual abuse.

    Nevertheless, Elizabeth believes that she is alive today because God was with her and never left her side. She doesn’t question the fairness of this horrible time in her life, and she says: “Being taken captive was not a part of some great, eternal plan of God, but an evil plan concocted by a man possessed by evil.”

    Yet, in the midst of the evil darkness created by Brian David Mitchell, there were little flickers of light, miracles that could not be explained by natural reasoning.

    One such miracle happened after three long days in the dry Utah dessert, when temperatures reached above a hundred degrees, and there was no water.  “My skin was dry, my throat, my eyes,” Elizabeth writes. “I was dirty and so thirsty I thought I would die.”

    In the middle of the night as she lay on a mat inside the tent, she woke suddenly. She observed Mitchell and his wife Barzee sleeping soundly nearby. Then she saw a yellow cup beside her pillow that was cold as ice and filled to the top with water. “I picked it up and drank the water,” says Elizabeth. “It was cold and clear and wonderful, the best-tasting water that I had ever had.”

    There was no natural explanation as to how the cup got there. There was no water beside her sleeping captors. She is convinced that it was a gift from God, reminding her that He was aware of her suffering and that He had a plan. She says, “God wanted me to know that He controlled the Earth and all the heavens and that all things were in His hands.”

    Today Elizabeth Smart Gilmour is a nationally recognized advocate for children’s rights. She helped promote the National AMBER alert, and she helped to develop a survivors’ guide titled “You’re Not Alone: the Journey from Abduction to Empowerment,” to encourage children who have gone through similar experiences.

    The last chapter of the book is titled “Gratitude and Faith.” Elizabeth says, “History is replete with stories of human suffering. I am not the first one to suffer. But the human spirit is resilient. God made us so. He gave us the ability to forgive, and to look forward instead of back.”