Do you like films? If you like drama, then this one’s for you. If you like; family, sport, faith and biographies, then Soul Surfer is a film you must see!

Making waves

Soul Surfer was released in 2011. It’s about a young and ambitious thirteen year-old girl named Bethany, born and raised in beautiful Hawaii. She grows up in a Christian family who all love to surf the crystal blue waves. Her life seemed idyllic and her future bright, until a tiger-shark attack removed her left arm and apparently her future along with it.

The movie explores how Bethany struggled to regain everything that was lost, including how to surf. She had to learn how to overcome these obstacles while still maintaining her trust in God.

It truly is an empowering film.

Behind the lens

The real Bethany fell in love with surfing, and began competing when she was only eight. The shark attack was life threatening, resulting in 60% blood loss. From then on her whole life changed:

‘My story shifted significantly when I was thirteen. Faced with a trauma that altered my body, I had to answer, ‘How will this affect my story?’ Fortunately, back then I had a steadfast mindset that presented only one option: move forward in faith and trust that, out of bad can come good.’

Bethany consulted on the making of the movie and was pleased with the result. Many of the scenes were based on actual events. She said that the family on the screen was very true to life – they are very fun and close to each other. She performed the surfing stunts filmed after the shark-attack herself.

Inspiring faith

Personally, I fell in love with this film. There are so many lessons in Bethany’s story. It taught me how fortunate I am and how lucky I am to be unconditionally loved by God. His power and grace can turn one terrifying experience into a life changing one. I actually discovered my favourite verse by watching this film. ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:13). I constantly think back to this verse whenever I feel stuck in a situation out of my control.

This film is an example of a test of faith. Is our relationship with God based on our biblical understanding of who he is, or is it based on our experiences in a broken world? Jesus clearly states, ‘In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33). Too often that trouble colours our view of who God is and determines whether we follow Him or not. Instead of that experiential theology, Jesus’ response to trouble is, ‘take heart, I have overcome the world.’

In Bethany’s own words, ‘With Christ we can turn pain into power, purpose and passion.’ Her story proves that this is possible. Films like Soul Surfer are more than just entertainment. Such movies have the power to motivate and inspire your faith. Watch it for yourself and see what you think.