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“If God Can Speak Through A Donkey, Then...”
THE SCENE was tense: Investigators were closing in on a fugitive who had kidnapped a teenage girl a week before. My partner and I in the Behavioral Analysis (Profiling) Unit ...

“IF GOD CAN SPEAK THROUGH A DONKEY, THEN...”

Drucilla Wells, JD, Supervisory Special Agent (Ret.)

Federal Bureau of Investigation

THE SCENE was tense: Investigators were closing in on a fugitive who had kidnapped a teenage girl a week before. My partner and I in the Behavioral Analysis (Profiling) Unit had been working closely with them. Our objective: Get her back alive.

She’d been taken from a parking lot in the Midwest and was being held in a rural cabin in the Northwest. The offender later said he’d hoped to take her into hiding and keep her as his “sex slave.” We knew she and her parents were believers and events revealed that God was protecting her. The offender had allowed her to call her parents and he’d caught her calling 9-1-1. He didn’t kill her for that, which told me God had clearly given her wisdom in dealing with the offender.

When our profiling coordinator called at 1:30 a.m. to update, he said the sheriff and deputies had surrounded the cabin. “What should the sheriff say? How can we get the fugitive to give up or at least allow the girl to live?” Talk about praying! I wasn’t trained as a hostage negotiator; neither was my partner. We knew nothing about the sheriff and could only speculate as to the fugitive’s state of mind and why he had kept his prisoner alive to this point. We suggested some strategies and “soft” language, but knew the outcome was out of our hands. I sank to my knees praying for God’s intervention. There were so many unknowns!

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What about the officer doing the negotiating—his demeanor, his ability to be patient and reassuring, his measure of wisdom? I prayed for all those and that the fugitive’s heart would be softened. I poured out my concerns, knowing the importance of each word and the manner in which the negotiator said them. Just then God brought to mind the account of Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22:28–30. There, God used a talking donkey to prevent Balaam from falsely prophesying over Israel. God reminded me that if he could talk through a donkey, he certainly could speak through an intelligent man! Shortly thereafter, we learned that the victim had been recovered alive and the fugitive had surrendered peacefully. We also learned that the fugitive had allowed the victim to act as a go-between for him and the sheriff. She had been courageous and influential in the fugitive’s decision to surrender. The results aren’t always that good, but God reassured me once more that he is sovereign over all and knows no limitations.


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