Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home on June 5, 2002. There is no getting around it. This is a difficult account to read. I am glad they did not describe explicit sexual details, as we know what occurred. Instead, this wise young woman ends her story with how she survived and overcame this situation in spite of the horrors she experienced.
At fourteen years of age, she willed herself to survive. She never became angry with God. She understood that because man has been given free will, there is both good and evil in this world and in the end, God is still in control and each of us will be held accountable for our actions.
When she was rescued and returned home, her mother encouraged her live a happy life so that the captor would not win. It sounds strange but she did just that.
The man was sentenced to life in prison without parole and the woman sentenced to fifteen years. While they serve prison time, Elizabeth has finished high school, college, served on a mission trip and gotten married. She has become an activist for abducted children.
One thought that struck me while reading her thoughts during survival is that when we are faced with life and death, we either accept or reject God.
Even within Christianity, each group has a tendency to assert that they are the true Christians. As a born again believing Christian myself, I also believe that God knows each of our hearts. He knows who gets it and who doesn’t.
This young girl stayed true to her Lord in a way that would be difficult to do under such despairing conditions. No one asks to be a hero or a saint but she will definitely be a role model for young people of all faiths.
Elizabeth had to protect her family but never made an alliance with her captors. She had already decided that she would outlive them. What finally brought her home was quick thinking.
They were in California and she convinced the man that to fulfill his plan, they needed to return to Utah. This time, the police did recognize her and intervened. An earlier attempt by an officer previously did not end in success because he did not pursue it far enough.
As an adult, I would not have survived this situation but this girl as a child not only survived but overcame.