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Purpose in Pain: Sarah Hill Shares Inspirational Experience of Hope

Amanda Navarrete, November 11, 2014
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“In our most stretching times … we find that there is a greater plan,” shared Sarah Hill at the November 6 installment of PUC’s Colloquy Speaker Series. Hill, a youth leader and missionary on the island of Kauai, is best known for her relationship with surfer and shark-attack survivor Bethany Hamilton. During her presentation, “Lost Limbs but Not Lost Hope,” Hill used her experience comforting a girl whose life completely changed when she tragically lost an arm in a shark accident to inspire the PUC community to put their hope in Christ, even in crisis. In Soul Surfer, the film portrayal of Bethany Hamilton’s accident and recovery, Hill was played by singer and actress Carrie Underwood.

Hill spoke of her role in Bethany Hamilton’s life, and the difficulty she had trying to find the right words to say as she drove to the emergency room following the accident. “Lord, what do I say in this time? How do I comfort her family when I’m not okay with this?” Hill questioned. It was that moment that she realized God had a plan for Bethany, and He was going to use her. Hill, who was the Hamilton’s youth leader, spent countless hours in the hospital with Hamilton reminding her that God still had a plan.

Hill also spoke of her own life before she surrendered to God, explaining she could not understand how God let her suffer and could not resonate with the good news of the Gospel. Following her high school graduation, Hill had her life planned out, and was headed to college to college with a water polo scholarship. However, her life was turned upside down after a surfing accident that left her unable to play water polo.

It was in the hospital when Hill began to have a change of heart. “The Lord began reminding me, ‘I never left you and never forsaken you,’” Hill said. She encouraged the students to let God bring purpose to any pain they may have endured, and asked, “Is your hope sure in Christ? Do you have a sure hope that God holds you in his hands?” She assured students that spiritual stretching could bring its own rewards.

In closing, Hill quoted Charles Spurgeon who said, “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” She ended the presentation by assuring students that they could place their hope in God, and watch Him prepare them for something greater than their own will.