Just as I was entering the theater to watch Soul Surfer with my 5th/6th grade youth group (Club 56) I read a tweet from a Greg Stier, president of “Dare 2 Share” Ministries. His take on the movie was that it was refreshing to go to a movie that was not only “good – you know, for a Christian movie” but actually a good movie overall. I agree with that take.
It has been great to see that over the last decade or so, there is no step down in quality from “good music” to “Christian music”. Christian Movies have not progressed as quickly, but there is hope. I’m not going to tell you that it was the best movie that I have ever seen and deserves to be remembered at Oscar time, but there are a lot of movies that come to theaters that are not necessarily Oscar worthy. It is easy, however to find enjoyable, well-done movies.
That is where I put this one too. It was an enjoyable story, uplifting and full of lessons to learn about depending on God, persevering through hard times, getting some perspective that life that doesn’t revolve around you, and trusting God to bring good in situations that seem to have no good in them. It was pretty well acted, the Hawaiian scenery was BEAUTIFUL, and the story engaging. Time well spent with Club 56 and worth the time and money to go see.
And to be honest, it is because of this movie’s release that I even know about this story at all. I remember vaguely hearing about a shark attacking a young surfer a few years back, but it had fallen well off of my radar in the years since this incident was in the media spotlight. See what I wrote about this story before seeing the movie here
Now that I am familiar with the story, it is great to see how Bethany Hamilton has dealt with the loss of her arm, struggled to understand why, and decided what to do about it. To see how she sees every day as an opportunity to tell others about how God is working in her and helping her live a life that honors Him.
As I have learned the story, it brought to mind another story of another Christian athlete. He also suffered a grim incident. His name is Dave Dravecky. He was a star pitcher for the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. He had been successful in his career. Then, in 1988, cancer had been discovered in the deltoid muscle of his throwing arm. He was told that only a miracle would allow him to pitch again. The attention of the baseball world was firmly focused on him when miraculously, he made his return to pitch for the Giants less than 18 months later. But it was short lived. In a gruesome moment, his arm broke mid-pitch during his second game back. The cancer had returned and weakened the arm. Later that year, he announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 33. His childhood dreams were over. He eventually had the arm amputated to stop cancer from spreading to the rest of his body. Since that time, he has become a speaker and author, sharing his story to many different audiences. He understands that God has given him a platform to share God’s love to others. I read his first 2 books when I was in high school, finding his story amazing and faith encouraging. For more about Dave Dravecky, check out his web-site here.
There are some similarities to their stories. They have suffered agony, loss, dream-shattering reality and moments of doubt. They are also similar in that they have since accepted their responsibility to use their fame and influence to share not only their stories – which are very Christ-centered, but also to offer insight and invitation for others to trust Jesus and live life for Him.
What a challenge from these 2 believers. They’ve been through more than I can imagine. Yet, they are ready to share the joy that is in their life, and point to the importance Christ plays in their lives. God’s plan always is the best, and by challenging his children to go through hard times and depend only on God for solutions, even when it is hard, uncomfortable or scary we can be sure that God is with us. We can overcome. Press on to attain the prize for which God has called us heavenward.