Soul Surfer

"Mom," my daughter said matter of factly, "I want to start praying that God will use me, but not until after I go to Florida with grandma. I don't want to get eaten by a shark."

For several Christmases now, we have gotten each of our children a new movie. It has been a good way to build our family library, but I also want the kids to have good things to watch when they have friends over - movies that might help to start or continue conversations about the Lord. Sometimes it is easy - like Facing the Giants for my football-loving preteen boy, or Sweet Pea Beauty for my tiny girl. I have to admit, some years finding edifying movies with good moral lessons is a challenge - especially since I have to find SIX of them at a time! 

This year my oldest boy was home when I was searching for a movie for my preteen girl. "Get Soul Surfer for her, Mom." he said. "It looked really good on the commercials and she seemed interested in that one."

We looked it up and read some reviews on it. Yup. It was good.

Bethany now. Confident. Radiant.
Fulfilling her purpose.

The kids loved watching the Hollywood portrayal of Bethany Hamilton's shark attack and the way that she allowed God to use it for His glory. I was pleased (and somewhat surprised) that the producer was careful to be respectful toward the Hamilton family's faith - even casting a woman who is not an actress in the role of the church youth leader because she is a Christian and wouldn't have to "act" it.

Then we watched the bonus features where they showed the whole story, told by the Hamilton family and their friends, and we were completely awed!

Bethany described how she had accepted Christ at a young age and really wanted to serve God with her Life and bring glory to Him, so she and her mom started praying that God would use her any way that He could. Then she was attacked by the shark.

Bethany soon after the shark attack.

In the Bonus features, they show the amazing story told by Bethany with her friends and family, along with footage of her in the hospital, just days after the attack, telling the person with the camera that God was going to use this for His glory and that's why it happened.
There was no hesitation.

No angst.

No doubt.

She was confident in God, and had no need to distrust His methods!

I thought back to the movie. The Hollywood Bethany struggles.

She falters.

She agonizes.

She doubts.

Hollywood portrayed it the only way they knew how. The way that they felt was relatable to the most people.

It occurred to me that people who do not have Christ (and even some of us who do!) do not understand how this could be! How could someone (even a little girl of 13) go through this trauma and, not only remain calm while she is enduring it, but proceed with confidence afterward?

Because her confidence was in Christ! She understood what even many adults have been unable to grasp - that what was happening to her was not an unfortunate event, fate, an accident or a random circumstance. It was carefully orchestrated in her life by the Good and Loving GOD Who had a grand plan for her life. And she knew that this Good and Loving GOD can be trusted explicitly.


Without fear. 

Yes. I said without FEAR.

Isn't that what holds us back? We worry that if we really do fully surrender to God that He will allow pain into our lives because, isn't it true that God cannot not use someone greatly unless that person has first been hurt deeply?

We spend most of our lives avoiding pain! We take aspirin for a headache, get epidurals for childbirth, and do everything we can to stay "safe." The thought of welcoming pain is simply unheard of.

This is something that I struggle with constantly. I want to be used, but I don't want to say, "Bring it on!" to God - because He just might! And I am afraid. (I talk about this in Whatever it Takes? ) How willing are we, really, to say "Whatever it takes?"
What if that whatever involves pain? Loss of a loved one? A prodigal child? Or (like Bethany) dismembership?

When I think back to the time when we lost a baby, I cannot separate those memories from a heightened awareness of the presence of God in my life.  I had to lean on Him for strength. I had to trust His plan for my life - a plan that included the death of a precious baby. I recieved comfort from those who had been in my shoes. Though I would love to have had the opportunity to watch that baby boy grow to be a man and see what he could have become, I do not regret walking through that valley because the relationship that I gained with God, and the ability to pass on the comfort that I recieved to others is worth it! Absolutely worth it.

I don't want to be afraid! I want to step forward with FAITH! I watched Heart of a Soul Surfer twice while I ironed my husband's shirts the other day. The little ones were asleep, and I felt that I had a quiet moment with God. "Do YOU trust Me this much?" he seemed to say.

Strengthed by Bethany's courage and unwavering faith, I can finally answer, "YES!"

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joyfully2b4u said...

Thanks for sharing this, Latisha =)
Goes along, as often happens, with things I'm learning myself =) Love you!

Monica said...

Beautiful what you wrote...:)

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