Two days ago, I finally got to see the movie “Soul Surfer.” I rented it in an Atlanta hotel while there for the International Christian Retailers Show. This inspiring – and challenging – film tells the real-life story of Bethany Hamilton, the Hawaiian surfer girl attacked by a shark at the age of thirteen. In this devastating event, Bethany lost her left arm, but not her faith in Christ.
Yesterday, while walking the convention floor and still feeling the impact of the movie’s message, I learned that the Hamilton family was in the building. Bethany was posing for photos and her mom, Cheri was signing copies of her book, “Raising a Soul Surfer.” Of course I hurried over and got in line! Today, I began reading Raising a Soul Surfer, the book written by Bethany’s mom Cheri Hamilton. Cheri emphasizes how their family’s faith in God remained strong despite their heartbreaking circumstances. Here are a few of Cheri’s words:
Our story is about a violently shattered dream that was replaced with a bigger one. But most of all, our life story has been, and continues to be, about trusting God in spite of circumstances, pressures and unexpected events… Most of all, this story is a glimpse into God’s perspective as it has been revealed to us. Only in retrospect have we been able to see how far back His amazing providence has reached into our lives. His hand has always been active, and not just since the events of that fateful Halloween morning in 2003… Before the attack, I had so many plans for my future and dreams of how my daughter’s amazing talents would affect the surfing community. But my hopes and dreams were too small for God. He always had much grander plans… My plans were way too small. It took a tragedy to shatter them and recast them into God’s plans.
Cheri and the rest of the Hamilton clan know that God is not surprised by anything that slips – or crashes – into our lives. He has the power to stop, redirect, or change whatever He chooses. I wonder how many times just today God protected you and me from disastrous circumstances? I also often wonder why God allows hard things into our lives. Scripture is clear that Christians are not immune from trials and difficulties. But God promises to strengthen, guide, comfort, and keep in the midst of them. Trust in the God who has the power to bring His will to completion in your life for His glory. Times may be shaky, but our God is unshakeable. Stand firm on The Rock.