Bethany Hamilton loved to surf. She surfed every day, often participating in competitions. She lived on the islands of Hawaii, and was homeschooled, which gave her a more flexible schedule so that she could focus on surfing. When Bethany was 13 years old, she was out surfing one day with her friend Alana. All of a sudden, a shark came out of nowhere and attacked Bethany, severing her arm up to the shoulder. Alana and her dad rushed Bethany to the hospital, where the doctors determined that she would live, though she had lost almost 60% of her blood.
The shark attack greatly discouraged Bethany, putting a damper on her dreams of becoming a pro surfer. How could she surf with only one arm? Although Bethany wasn’t sure how at the time, she knew that God would get her through it all. Bethany knew that God had gotten her through that shake attack for a reason, and He still had a plan for her life. She set her eyes on working towards surfing again. Bethany trained and never gave up, eventually achieving her goal of getting back in the water and surfing, even competing, again. It was not easy, but Bethany Hamilton trusted in God to get her through a hard time, and He did just that and more, giving her opportunities to share her story with others and be an inspirational speaker.
Why She Inspires Me:
Bethany Hamilton’s story reminds me of the story of Joni Eareckson Tata. What’s the key element to both of these stories? Both Bethany and Joni never gave up against all odds. Both of their barriers were very physical, limiting them from doing something they loved, but they both trusted God and came out doing things they never thought they would be able to do. Bethany Hamilton’s story shows how faithful God is, and how He uses every circumstance for good. One of Bethany’s favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” We can know that we do not have to fear, because God is in control and He will get us through with power and love.
NOTE: For more on Bethany Hamilton, I recommend this book: Soul Surfer: A True Story Of Faith, Family, And Fighting To Get Back On The Board by Bethany Hamilton.