(Photo: Harvest Ministries)
IRVINE, Calif. – A gripping film featuring Greg and Cathe Laurie, Jeremy Camp, and Nick Vujicic discussing a time in their lives of unfathomable loss and emotional pain resulted in more than two dozen viewers making professions of faith in Jesus during a special first-time screening at Harvest Orange County Church Sunday evening.
"Hope For Hurting Hearts" details the experience of the Lauries, whose eldest son died in a car accident in 2008. Since then, the couple has been sharing their story of hope in God and eternal life in heaven. The film also features Camp, a Dove Award-winning Christian musician who tragically lost his first wife to cancer, and who wrote the hit song, "I Still Believe." Also in the movie, Vujicic, president and CEO of Life Without Limbs, is dedicated to sharing his life-changing message of hope found in Christ, and has been welcomed to speak in countries around the world, including those with strict restrictions against religious speech.
Near the end of the film, Laurie is seen giving an invitation to pray along with him for viewers to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The evangelist, perhaps best known for his Christian outreach events held at stadiums called Harvest, was present at the screening at his church in Irvine and after the movie ended, asked those who prayed to come forward to receive a Bible. About 30 people came up from their seats.
Vujicic told The Christian Post before the advance viewing of "Hope For Hurting Hearts" at Harvest churches in Riverside and Irvine, that during the shooting of the film, he had the opportunity to go more in depth than at any other previous interviews, about how he struggled as a child with the realization that by being born with no arms or legs he was very different than most everyone else.
"The greatest thing about this film is that it's real," Vujicic said. "Looking back, I remember very vividly the afternoon that we were recording it, and because I had shared my testimonies so many times it's sort of very easy to lose the magnitude of the emotional capacity or the pain, or the feelings that you often times don't really want to remember or go back into."
He said that the filmmakers involved in the Harvest Ministries project encouraged him to deeply reflect on the difficult period in his life.
"I really felt like I opened up on this film a lot more than any other interview," Vujicic explained. "There are very few times that I've really cried … I really feel there is a depth of transparency and emotional sharing from the heart that doesn't happen a lot these days. Not that I don't emotionally share my story everywhere, it's just the fact that we really wanted to be part of a film that gets real, not simply that I tried to commit suicide at age 10, let's move on. I think there's a beautiful unique depth."
Laurie and his wife, Cathe, share in the movie how in the midst of their pain, "faith kicked in," as Laurie put it.
"It's been said that man can live 40 days without food, about three days without water, about 8 seconds without air, but not one second without hope," Laurie says in the movie.
"After my son died, I had people come up to me and say, 'How can this happen to you, of all people?' Listen, just because I'm a pastor doesn't mean that I get a pass on pain. Pain knocks on every door. There are no exceptions," he said.
"The message [of the film] is not that all the pain is gone and all the problems are gone, but the message is God is still with us, and He got us through it, and He gets us through it," Laurie told those in attendance on Sunday.
Vujicic told CP that the stories of pain in the film are not really new to society, however, he said, "I really feel that the body of Christ, over the last ten years, has really been able to take off some masks – masks of pretending that everything is okay.
"For example, the theory that people who are on stage and in the spotlight, like evangelists, preachers, musicians – it's not like as if we have 'no problems' or we 'got it all together.' I think that the reality of our walk with Christ is that it is a real journey of ups and downs and I just love how raw it is, how authentic it is, and just how sobering it is to be grounded in the truth … really, a lot of the inspiring Scriptures are related to stories about God's faithfulness," he said.
Vujicic said the film is like a modern-day testimonial of what happens when people trust in God and miracles happen in their lives.
"It's not like a false humility or false hope, it's true humility pointing to the true and only one who can give us hope, which is Jesus, His grace, His power to change circumstances are His ways to carry us through all of that," he said.
An innovative web-based premiere screening with LifeWay Films is planned for July 10-14. Churches, small groups, and individuals are all invited to participate in this free event. Harvest Ministry says audience members will be encouraged by these intensely personal and intimate accounts, which give a glimpse into God's perspective on suffering. The film is narrated by Dr. James Dobson.
On the Web: http://www.harvest.org/hope-for-hurting-hearts.html.