“What is impossible for mortals is possible for God”

— Luke [18:27]


On October 31, 2003, Bethany Hamilton was surfing along Tunnels Beach in Hawaii. As she lay on her surfboard, a tiger shark swam by and bit her arm. The shark severed the arm and left Bethany bleeding profusely in the water. People from the beach and other surfers hurried to help her get back to shore. The father of one of the surfers applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. A doctor who lived nearby rushed to help and attended to her during her trip to the hospital. She lay in the hospital with 60 percent of her blood gone. Her dad was scheduled to have knee surgery that morning, so he gave up his slot and Bethany was successfully operated on. She was only thirteen. 

“With one arm, she did participate in the world surfing championship, and she won.”

While she was in recovery, she and her mother prayed. They prayed that God would use this accident for His glory. After a week Bethany was released, and she began to think about the national surfing championships that were scheduled in three weeks. She recovered with remarkable speed and continued a state of prayer. With one arm, she did participate in the championships, and she won. All with one arm and being only one month removed from her accident. She had come close to dying, and a remarkable set of events had saved her life. To have won the surfing title with one arm was even more remarkable; in fact it seemed impossible.

Jesus points out that we as mortals can view things as impossible, but to God all is possible. When we pray, we have a chance. When we pray with the right heart we can succeed. Bethany and her mom asked God to help, not for their glory, but for God’s. Theirs was a heart designed to show that in spite of overwhelming odds, God could do the impossible.

Jesus knows our wants and prayers. Jesus hears. Setting our hearts to the right attitude, and recognizing that God can surpass all human understanding, completes our prayer.

We have all had those times when it seemed like doom awaited us. We worry and we pace. What is the answer? How do we overcome? We overcome when we change the perspective from us to God. When we turn it all over to God and leave behind our deep thoughts of despair, we give God space to fix our lives. Maybe not as dramatically as Bethany Hamilton’s, but it will be dramatic. God’s answer will be unique. We will know God’s answer belongs to us. Like a great present given to us on Christmas by a close friend, it will be deeply personal. We will know it came from God. 

“When we worry, our heart does not leave room for God. When we trust God, there is space for miracles.”


Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman



What do we do when we face obstacles, do we pray first and worry last?

What miracles have we experienced and how did we know it was from God?