Remix: Student Devotionals

Time with God - Week 3, Day 1

Day 1: Soul Surfer, Part 1 (Relationship with God)

Years ago, a young girl by the name of Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark while surfing. You have probably seen the excellent movie "Soul Surfer." Today we are going to hear what happened on that life-changing day in Bethany's own words. She said,

"It came, literally, out of the blue. I had no warning at all, not even the slightest hint of danger. The waves were small and inconsistent, and I was just kind of rolling along with them, relaxing on my board with my left arm dangling in the cool water. I remember thinking, 'I hope the surf picks up soon.' That's all it took – a split second. I felt a lot of pressure and a couple of lightning-fast tugs. Then I watched in shock as the water around me turned bright red. Somehow, I stayed calm. My left arm was gone almost to the armpit, along with a huge crescent-shaped chunk of my red, white, and blue surfboard. I remember most clearly what the paramedic said to me in the ambulance: He spoke softly and held my hand as we were pulling out of the beach parking lot. He whispered in my ear… 'God will never leave you or forsake you.' He was right. I believe in God. Nobody made me believe; I don't think you can or should try to force someone to believe something. And even though my parents taught me about God and read Bible stories to me from as early as I can remember, it was my choice to become a believer in Him. The way I see it, putting our faith in God is something that each person has to come to on his or her own. It's your own personal relationship with Him, a bond that's as unique as a fingerprint."

Bethany's relationship with God did not change due to the events of this day. If anything, her faith in God grew even stronger, and that was a choice too. When life knocks you down, you have a choice to grow bitter or become closer to God.

Because Bethany had a personal relationship with Jesus, He sustained her and strengthened her through the difficult days that were ahead. Her faith was her own. It was not a faith of her mom or dads but her own decision to follow Jesus with all that she had.

How about you? Is your faith in God your faith in God, or do you trust in Him because of your mom or your dad's faith in God? Listen to me. Secondhand faith is no faith at all. You have to make your choice. Accept Jesus or reject Jesus. Serve Him or serve yourself. Follow Him or go your own way.

What about you? Do you have your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If you say, "No, I really don't," call your Student Pastor and set up a time to talk about this. If you do have your own personal relationship with Jesus, you know that life won't be easy. No matter what this world throws at us, following Jesus is always worth it. He can take something bad and make it something amazing.

Time Out

1. Look up Deuteronomy 31:8. What promise does God make to you and to me in this verse?

2. Not everything that happens to us is good, but God can take the bad and make it something beautiful. Look up Romans 8:28 and write down the promises that God makes to us in the midst of life's tragedies.

3. We said earlier that secondhand faith is really no faith at all. Do you follow Jesus because you have chosen to, or do you follow Jesus because of someone else? You can always tell a person who has a secondhand faith because they see all this spiritual stuff as something they have to do rather than something they get to do. I have to go to church. I have to read this book. I have to memorize a verse of Scripture. They have no passion and no excitement for the things of God. If that describes you, then you need to talk to your Student Pastor and find out what a firsthand faith in God is all about. You know you have a firsthand faith when following Jesus is a "get to" rather than a "have to."

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39