As this story has been unfolding, I have been amazed by all aspects of it. The truth is, I heard the news about the Atlanta courtroom killings before I knew anything about Ashley Smith. Then I noticed all the news reports talking about the book by Rick Warren, "The Purpose Driven Life." "Hmm," I thought, "Maybe these two events are connected."
Real Rocket science, I know, but now I'm getting up to speed on the story. One of the things that impresses me about it all is that Ashley is no real saint. She has a rough past, present struggles and had just returned from going to a convienience store to get some cigarettes...
She wasn't and isn't perfect, but she was open to God using her in even the most frightening of situations. I don't know what the effects of her actions ultimately will accomplish, or even if she will stay true to her convictions as the book and movie deals roll in. But I do know that God has and will use her trust in Him through this incident to bring glory to Himself, and draw more people into His Kingdom. The book, "The Purpose Driven Life," which is already a huge best seller, is now flying off the shelves again since Ashley mentioned it in her interviews.
That Ashley was able to draw from the mistakes and tragedies in her own life while a hostage reminds me of a quote from the book:
"God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use them for his glory. By identifying and understanding these factors you can discover
God's will for your life."
Thousands of new people are reading about the fact that this life is not about us, but all about God and His purposes. Many will become Christ Followers as a result of reading the book. That's something good coming from something tragic. Beauty from ashes.
I've condensed the coverage of the story and imporant info about it here:
- Newsweek: "In Georgia, A Matter of Faith"
- Download the chapter from "The Purpose Driven Life" that Ashley read to her captor Here. (pdf file)
- The story from the screen capture on this blog: Here.
- Read the Purpose Driven News article here.