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Soul Surfer’s secret to success

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Bethany Hamilton, the Soul Surfer, and her new husband in photo taken shortly after their weddeding (Credit: Mike Larson via Bethany Hamilton Facebook page)

Bethany Hamilton was born in Hawaii to a family of surfers.  She won her first surfing competition at the age of eight.  At the age of 13, on October 13, 2003, she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing.  She lost her left arm and over 60 percent of her blood.  Just a month after the attack, she returned to the water.  She won her first national title in 2005 and became a professional surfer two years later.

She has shared her faith wherever she goes.  Author of 10 books, Bethany has made more than 23 television appearances; her story was made into a popular movie, Soul Surfer.  Now she’s married to a Christian youth minister named Adam Dirks.  Friends set them up on a blind date; when he proposed in April, she accepted: “I know Adam and I are right for each other and that God has us together for Him.”

The couple recently exchanged vows in front of 300 guests on the north shore of Kauai, near the tiny town where she grew up.  The wedding party all went barefoot for the ceremony.  Bethany plans to continue her surfing career as well as her motivational speaking.  In a blog post about her wedding, she wrote, “Today was the most beautiful, wonderful best day of my life!  God is more than good.”

He is indeed.  Perseverance positions us to receive all that divine grace intends to give.

George Muller cared for more than 10,000 orphans during his long ministry in England.  A man of remarkable faith, he began praying one day for five friends to come to Christ.  After many months, one trusted the Lord.  Ten years later, two others became Christians.  Muller continued to pray daily for 25 years until the fourth friend came to faith.  Muller prayed for the fifth friend for 52 years, until the great evangelist died.  That friend came to Christ shortly after Muller’s funeral.

It is always too soon to give up on God.

William Wilberforce fought the British slave trade for 10 years without success.  One night, tired and frustrated, he was tempted to quit.  He began leafing through his Bible.  A small note fell out.  It was John Wesley’s last letter, written to Wilberforce shortly before the great evangelist died.  (Wilberforce had been converted under Wesley’s ministry.)

On February 24, 1791, Wesley wrote: “Dear Sir: Unless the divine power has raised you up . . . I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing [slavery].  Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils.  But if God be for you, who can be against you?  Are all of them together stronger than God?  O be not weary of well doing!  Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might.”

For what purpose has the divine power raised you up today?