HOLLYWOOD — Tim Tebow's fiancée, 2017 Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, has shared how her younger sister who was born with a disability continually reminds her of God's goodness and love.
Nel-Peters' 13-year-old half-sister, Franje, was born with subtotal cerebellar agenesis, a rare condition that has left her without a cerebellum. She has the intellectual ability of a three-month-old baby and can't walk, talk or eat and is fed through a tube.
During the red carpet premiere of "Run the Race" in Hollywood, Nel-Peters told The Gospel Herald that her sister is her biggest inspiration – and evidence that God has a plan, even amid difficult circumstances.
"She is the light in my life," the 23-year-old said of her sister. "She is my absolute biggest motivation and inspiration in life. Though I've never had a conversation with her because she's not able to speak, I know that she's been used in so many ways to be an inspiration in so many people's lives and to motivate so many people."
"God has a plan and a purpose with everything," she added. "We don't always understand and we don't always know what it is, but that purpose is there and that plan is there."
Flanking his fiancee's side, Tebow told GH that in order to overcome trials in life, it's important to understand the grace of God.
"And not that it's easy, but we can get through it with the right perspective," the Heisman Trophy-winning football player said. "Understanding that God's always at work in our lives and the good and the bad, and He can use all of it."
"A lot of times we just think, oh, He's going to use the platform. And He does. But He also uses the heartache," Tebow added. "My sister, who's been a missionary for the last 13 years, always says to me, 'God, will never waste pain that's given to Him.' And He never does. So when we go through those heartaches and the tough times, we need to give it to Him and say, 'God, this sucks, but I know you're going to use it.'"
"A lot of times, He uses that heartache more than He does the good times," the former NFL star concluded.
"Run the Race," the story of two high school brothers trying to overcome their mother's death and father's abandonment, highlights the importance of family, the power of sacrifice and forgiveness, and what it means to rely on God's goodness even amid the difficulties of life.
Previously, Tebow, who executive-produced the film alongside his brother Robby, told GH that he hopes the film encourages young people to "not run away from God, but run to God because He loves them like crazy."
"It might feel sometimes like you're alone and it might feel sometimes like the world is really hard," he acknowledged. "But there is a God that loves you so much and He wants to know you and He wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with you."
The athlete added that running the race of life as outlined in Hebrews 12:1 means there's a finish line – but the goal isn't winning or taking first place. Rather, it means living a life of significance -and that's defined by God.
"'Making it' changes when you know God," he said. "Knowing God means okay, it's not just about what the world says. It's not just about material things. It's not everything I thought it was. Now it changes to more purpose and meaning and significance."
"Run the Race" stars Mykelti Williamson (FENCES, FORREST GUMP), Frances Fisher (TITANIC, UNFORGIVEN), Tanner Stine (NCIS), Evan Hofer (Kickin' It), and Kelsey Reinhardt (Transparent). For more information, visit RunTheRaceMovie.com.