This Sunday we took the students of One Community Church to see Soul Surfer; The Inspiring True Story of Bethany Hamilton. All I have to say is WOW! What a story! It’s the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who at the age of 13 was an aspiring pro surfer with her entire life and career in front of her when it was derailed by a shark attack…, which ended in her losing an arm. Like most of you I heard the story on the news 6 or 7 years ago and thought, “Wow, that’s too bad, and that girl is really brave getting back in the water with those Sharks”… but this movie tells you the reason why she was ABLE to get back in the water.
This girl Bethany Hamilton is amazing… and the God who inspires her to do what she does is even more amazing. When I encounter people who against all odds have fought back to chase their dreams and find peace in the midst of the difficult moments in life, my ears perk up and want to know why! The movie makes it clear and so do the countless interviews she has given through the years… she believes God gave her a love for surfing and the ability to speak to nations through this gift, and she was not going to let something like losing an arm stop that… WHAT!!! She felt this way before the accident, and in some mysterious way, losing her arm made her more certain that God would be glorified through her surfing! A lot of people would let a broken board or a lost tournament stop them, but this girl wasn’t going to let losing her entire arm get in the way of achieving what she believed God wanted for her life.
There’s a scene that sums up the entire story of Bethany’s climb back to the top. Its only a month after losing her arm and she has decided that its time to get back into the water and surf again. There she is standing with her family and best friend looking out into the waves crashing and rolling into the shore, and her best friend asks, “Aren’t you afraid?” Bethany keeps staring into the oceans symphony of crashing waves and beauty and simply responds, “I’m more afraid of not surfing!” If you didn’t just get a million chills down your spine, wait until you see the movie (I hope this doesn’t ruin it for you) because this was one of the many moments I found myself tearing up (OK crying) and inspired by this young ladies outlook on life.
Even though she was in the midst of the biggest tragedy of her life, she was able to get up to a 30,000-foot level and get some perspective on what was going on. Like most teens she could be struggling with her body image (she did have only one arm), who could blame her if she would have morned the fact that just a few weeks before this terrible accident she was on her way to becoming a pro surfer with sponsors salivating at the chance to sign her… but the only thing Bethany could think about was getting back in that water and back up on that surf board, because she knew God was asking her to… for His Fame Alone! This is the reason she is still surfing today, to bring God glory! What an awe-inspiring story… The Soul Surfer!
If you find yourself standing on the beach, looking into the water, and wondering if you will ever surf again… I challenge you to go see the movie, look up the real documentary about Bethany Hamilton and let God speak to you through her story, and see if maybe He is asking you to get back into the water for His Fame Alone. It might not be the water, for you it might be a relationship that you have given up on, or maybe you have been running from God because its just so much easier to run that to face the hurts and fears… whatever your surfboard is… I promise, if you get a hold of what Bethany has you will live to see your surfboard another day!
I think I’m going to have to go see that movie again… I was grateful for the reminder of why I got back in the water after losing Micah. Believe me I wanted to quite, but God had other plans… His Fame Alone!