Not long ago, I watched a movie with my family about a young lady you’ve probably heard of – Bethany Hamilton. It’s an awesome story, and I would certainly recommend the movie to friends, but it left me with a couple of questions. Before I ask, let me assure you that I have no intention of making light of Bethany’s success. Having lived nearly half of my life with only one usable arm, I can assure you that I understand the magnitude of her achievements and that I believe she deserves the recognition she has received. That said, I had to ask…
We love watching these stories, so why don’t we see the great stories right around us? More importantly, why don’t we step in and be a part of the story? You might tell me that you don’t know anyone like Bethany Hamilton, but she wasn’t the Bethany Hamilton everyone cheers for before the events the movie was based on. I don’t think anyone involved realized what was really happening until they reached a point, looked back, and said, “wow, that was awesome!”
You might also ask what role you would play. Well, that depends on the story. I can tell you something that all people need, especially those with disabilities, that Bethany had in abundance: encouragement and support. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to “encourage one another and build each other up.”
I lost the use of my left arm when a car hit me on my motorcycle. I never thought I’d ride again. I’ve since ridden over 45,000 miles because a friend encouraged me to try. My wife and I have started an annual motorcycle ride for autism awareness, and I’ve had the privilege to be an encouragement to that friend’s daughter, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome shortly after I was. It all started because someone had a little faith and offered a little encouragement.
In John 9:1-3, Jesus and his disciples encountered a man who had been born blind. Jesus’s disciples asked him whether the man or his parents had sinned to cause him to be born blind. Jesus told them, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Take a good look around you. You might be surprised at what you are missing.