Shedding light in a dark place
“I’ve been revived, redeemed, and reborn—through faith,” said actor Kevin Sorbo. Best known for his role on TV as the mythical hero “Hercules,” today he plays characters in movies who most resemble redeemed sinners, saved by God’s grace.
Following in the footsteps of his earlier Christian film successes, “Soul Surfer” and “God’s Not Dead,” his newest movie project, “Let There Be Light,” hit the theaters for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is a story of hope designed to dispel the darkness lurking in the hearts of unbelievers and to reaffirm the message of Christ for believers everywhere.
The movie’s plotline focuses on Sorbo’s character, Sol Harkens, a best–selling author and speaker of immense success. Angry with God for the loss of his only son to cancer, Harkens has become a bitter and outspoken atheist. As the story miraculously unfolds, Harkens is confronted with a new spiritual reality that transforms his life.
The story loosely resembles Sorbo’s own testimony. The son of Lutheran parents, he grew up in Mound, Minnesota.
In the midst of Sorbo’s meteoric rise as a Hollywood actor, his Christian identity diminished. “At the time, ‘Hercules’ was the number one TV show in the world. So, an invincible complex, anyone?” he has jokingly said.
Three strokes, but not out
However, Sorbo developed a tingling sensation in the fingers of his left hand, which slowly grew cold and numb. Then a throbbing pain moved up his arm.
“But I blew it off,” he said. “I told myself, ‘I’ll be fine.’ I really didn’t have time to be sick.”
Indeed, Sorbo was scheduled to begin promoting his first big–budget film, “Kull the Conqueror,” and would soon begin production on yet another film.
He was having the time of his life, appearing on the “Today” show, the “Tonight Show,” and every other talk show in between. On his list were the likes of Leno, Letterman, and Oprah.
If only Sorbo had realized that an aneurism was developing in his left shoulder. Three blood clots had caused the numbness. The clots would eventually trigger three strokes. He lost his sight, speech, and ability to even stand. For the next three years, he struggled through difficult therapy.
During that time, Sorbo renewed his relationship with Christ. His outlook on Hollywood, career, relationships, and indeed life, changed.
“I prayed a lot to God, who had seemed so cruel and capricious to me,” Sorbo said. As his recovery gradually seemed possible, he also recognized smaller miracles taking place daily, such as the intrepid optimism of Sam, who would soon become his wife.
“God provided her,” he said. “She saw recovery in me when I couldn’t see it in myself. She had faith in a loving Creator when my faith in Him faltered. Her uplifting voice soundly approved any small improvement that I had. Her voice countered the negative voices in my head.”
Sam also encouraged Kevin to write the book True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal—and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life. In “Let There Be Light,” Sam plays Katy, the ex–wife of Sol, Kevin’s character.
Executive Producer Sean Hannity of Fox News highlights a number of endorsements, including one from Commissioner James M. Knaggs, former commander of the Salvation Army’s USA Western Territory. “‘Let There Be Light’ is an inspirational journey of faith that will encourage you in your own path. It’s a ‘must see’ for the believer and the believer’s friends,’” he said.
by Warren L. Maye