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Single Mom’s Faith in God Helps Bring Atlanta Manhunt to Peaceful End, “That’s the Only Person Who Helped Me Through”

Aimee Herd : Mar 14, 2005  Fox News

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Ashley Smith, a Georgia woman whose husband was stabbed to death 4 years ago, credits her faith in God as the source of her amazing strength and clear-minded thinking while being held hostage this weekend by a man who allegedly killed four people in his escape from a courthouse on Friday.

Smith, having returned from the store at 2am on Saturday morning, was in the parking lot of her apartment when Brian Nichols took her hostage at gunpoint. Nichols bound her to a chair with tape and extension cord, but after Smith, a born-again Christian, began to talk to him about God and the purpose for his life, he untied her. "You're here in my apartment for some reason," Smith said to Nichols, reading to him from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, and adding that his purpose might be to be caught so he can spread the Word of God in prison. She suggested that if he didn’t give himself up, "Lots more people are probably going get hurt and you're probably going to die." He told her he didn’t want to hurt anyone else.

Smith spent the following hours talking to the fugitive about the Bible and sharing photos of her family. She told him that her husband had been killed 4 years earlier and if she died, her little girl would not have a father or a mother. (Her daughter was spending the night at a church function.) That morning, when Smith made her captor pancakes with real butter, he was “overwhelmed.” Nichols stayed at her apartment but let her go to meet her 5-year-old daughter. When she left, Smith called 911 and Nichols was taken into custody without any further violence.

Gwinnett County Police Officer Darren Moloney said of the 13-hour ordeal, “She acted very cool and levelheaded. We don't normally see that in our profession…it was an absolutely best-case scenario that happened, a complete opposite of what you expected to happen.” Nichols could appear in Federal court as early as Monday.

Editor’s Note: In a weekend filled with much tragedy, this story of strength and trust in God in the midst of extreme danger, rings through with a clear answer of hope in a fallen world. It is a real-life snapshot of how “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Yes, this man will have to pay for any crimes he’s committed, but because of the mercy and love shown to him by this woman, a clear representative of the Lord Jesus, and because of the purpose she spoke into his life, he now has a glimmer of hope. The kind of hope that can even be found in a prison cell, hope that “does not disappoint.” May each one of us be ready, even as Ashley Smith was, that when “God would open to us a door for the Word, to speak the mystery of Christ…” we will do so, walking in “wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” –Scripture taken from Romans 5, and Colossians 4:2-5. –Aimee Herd, Breaking Christian News.

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