In all the depravity and sin that plagues our fallen world, the miracles the Lord still works every day never fail to remind us of his eternal goodness and mercy.
When a precious 8-year-old was recently kidnapped in the Fort Worth, Texas area, her family and community were utterly shocked and terrified.
The little girl, Salem Sabatka, was grabbed and thrown into a vehicle while she was out walking with her mother on the evening of May 18th. Frightening and heartbreaking footage from a doorbell camera shows Salem’s mother desperately jumping into the vehicle to save her little girl before being shoved out by the driver, who then sped off.
Salem’s mother immediately dialed 911 and began screaming for help. In that moment, though, we can only imagine how utterly helpless and terrified she must have felt at the thought of never seeing her daughter again.
Police issued an AMBER Alert and initiated a massive search effort to find Salem. The surrounding community was notified of Salem’s dire situation, including local pastor Jeff King.
Upon hearing the news that Salem had been kidnapped, King and a friend took to the streets of Fort Worth in search of the girl.
“I was sitting at home with my wife when a friend texted and said that our friends’ daughter had been kidnapped. All I could think is what are we going to do to help?” the pastor told NBC DFW.
King and his friend joined the exhaustive search for young Salem until well after midnight when at last, they got a promising tip to check out a certain hotel in Forest Hill. To their incredible disappointment, however, there was no sign of the suspect’s car at that hotel.
But, then, in a moment King described as sheer “divine intervention,” the pair decided to check the parking lot of the nearby Wood Springs Suites.
“God literally led us to this place. It was not on my itinerary, I was not trying to go there, we just drove by. It was divine intervention, 100 percent,” King recalled. There, in that parking lot, he and his friend spotted a car matching the exact description of the car little Salem had been thrown into earlier that day.
King immediately called the police. Little did he know that just two hours prior, officers had already searched a room in that hotel which had been rented by 51-year-old Michael Webb, but saw no sign of Salem there.
When police breached the door, taking Webb by surprise, they found Salem safe and sound!
(Above left: Salem Sabatka; right: Michael Webb)
“It was a crazy moment. I asked police, ‘Did I hear that right? Did they find her? Is she safe?’” King said. “Then finally one officer said, ‘Yes sir, they have her.’”
Thanks to the incredible providence of God and Pastor King’s diligence and courage, Webb was immediately arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping. He a lengthy criminal history, including charges of aggravated and sexual assault in April 2018. After this harrowing incident, let’s pray that he is punished to the full extent of the law and is unable to ever hurt anyone again.
“This adrenaline was rushing through my veins. I could barely stand still, me and the person I was with,” King told CBS. “We were just hugging each other and he and I were like beside ourselves.”
“I feel like God allowed me to be a tool,” the pastor added.
King’s church, Bear Creek Bible Church, thanked the Lord for his protection in a Facebook post:
King was also blessed with the opportunity to lead the community in prayer at a press conference after the little girl had been rescued.
“Thank you, Father, that she’s alive and she’s with us still and that she has a wonderful life to live ahead of her, Father,” he prayed. “I can’t thank You enough for the redemption and grace You show us all the time. I can’t thank You enough for the death of Your son on the cross as a substitutionary atonement in our place. Father, I can’t thank You enough for last night and being able to locate that vehicle. Thank you, Father, for guiding us every step of the way.”
Miracles do happen. God is at work in His creation, and this incredible story is but a mere reflection of the self-sacrifice and love of the One who came to seek and save those who are lost.
Praise God for his mercy on little Salem and pray that He touches this family with unshakable peace after such an incredible ordeal.
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