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Keeping the faith


I admit I have never really been a regular church-goer, but I’ve always had faith. And I always find myself talking to ‘Someone’ when I start to lose hope in trying times.

But some events of the past week have given me pause and, perhaps, a revelation.

As a child, I remember lying in bed asking God to help me through traumatic times and looking back, I realize when He did. I am also realizing how those events shaped me and what I learned from them.

As a parent, I’ve asked Him “why?” And while those answers are still pending, I do see that I somehow found the strength to move on when I wasn’t sure I could. I’ve also learned I may not get the answers I seek.

Over the last few days I believe we as a community witnessed prayers being answered.

First, as the community gathered for an evening vigil Feb. 16 in Brown Park, police located the pickup truck Sam Littleton abandoned before he allegedly abducted the Russells from their nearby home in their vehicle. Within hours, Bellefontaine detectives returned to the Neeley-Littleton home and made the gruesome discovery.

Last Friday, as the community gathered outside Tiffany’s home to mourn her death and pray for the capture of her killer, we were learning that the Russells’ car was earlier spotted in Butler County and another piece of the puzzle was falling into place.

Then, as hundreds were gathered Wednesday inside the First Church of God to pray and mourn at Tiffany’s funeral, word came that Littleton was in custody. Another answered prayer.

The Littleton family prayed, too. They prayed that he would be found or turn himself in before a “vigilante” got to him. That also was the prayer of many asking “why?” With his capture Wednesday, those answers may be forthcoming.

Reflecting on these events, I’ll never doubt the power of prayer or positive thinking. I do believe the collective prayers of a community, to at least some degree, are being answered — though not exactly as we’d hoped.

Today, I’m saying a prayer for the two young boys left in the wake of this tragedy, that He gives them the strength to move on when they don’t think they can. 

That He helps the Brown, Neeley, Russell AND Littleton families through a very traumatic time, that they learn the answers and find peace.

And for answers to the prayers of the community that gathered Wednesday evening to ask for the safe return of the Russells, though they may not be the answers we seek. Amen.

Keep the faith.

“In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it.”

— Norman Vincent Peale

“... Calm my mind, bring peace to my heart and strengthen my spirit to carry on in the midst of loss. ...”

— Norman Vincent Peale Prayer In Crisis

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