A Toyota commercial with a strong pro-life message resonated with viewers during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The commercial featured the story of Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long, who was born in Russia with a birth defect. Both of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. Her birth mother was unable to care for her, so she was placed in an orphanage. Her adopted parents, Steve and Beth Long, were made aware of the challenges they would face if they accepted this child, and eagerly adopted the little girl.
The commercial shows Long through several milestones in her life, from learning to walk with crutches to competing in swim meets as a young girl. She joined a swim team when she was 10 and kept going back because the girls treated her like a friend rather than someone with a disability. “They didn’t notice or seem to care about the fact that I didn’t have legs,” she said. “I am positive if they treated me differently, I wouldn’t be the world-class swimmer I am today.”
Watch the commercial:
Long, who was raised in a strong Christian household, knew that becoming an accomplished swimmer would take dedication and perseverance, which she says comes from God. “I got through every single challenging moment of my life because of my determination that God gave me,” she said.
Long is affiliated with the advocacy group “Fight for the Fatherless,” a movement led by Christian athletes that aims to encourage orphans and those affected by a disability.
On the organization’s website she shared her salvation story: “I was always angry with God. I couldn’t understand how a God could make me without my legs. When I was 8 years old, I kinda accepted him, but it was more out of fear and wanting to just go to heaven. There wasn’t a relationship and I still never felt good enough. Years later when I was out in Colorado springs training, I felt God truly work in my heart. I was raised the right way, but I still had to come to Christ on my own. Eventually, I decided I wanted to give Jesus my whole heart. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
In a recent interview, she states God calls us to love every part of ourselves.
“Life is hard and not every single day is easy, but setting goals and knowing you can achieve anything is important with a good attitude,” she said. “Also to believe in yourself. Believe you are capable of incredible things and that God has a plan for every individual. I want you to embrace who God made you to be. To love every part of yourself, flaws and all.”
It’s rare for a pro-life commercial to air during the Super Bowl. The most famous is perhaps that of Tim Tebow’s mother when she shared her decision not to abort Tim during a crisis pregnancy.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice