By Christopher Smith
CHATSWORTH — When all eyes were on John Luke Robertson, he was looking at Hannah Locke. When everyone wanted to hear what the “Duck Dynasty” celebrity had to say to her, he made it clear he didn’t have any special wisdom to offer.
Locke, who was left paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair after a vehicular wreck last year, left more of an impact on Robertson, he said. Not the other way around.
“Your faith is a testimony to me,” he said, after reading James 1:2, speaking to a crowd of hundreds at North Murray High School on Sunday evening.
The benefit concert for Locke filled much of the North Murray gym with hundreds of supporters coming to see Chris McDaniel, formerly of the country band Confederate Railroad, and Robertson with his sister Sadie, both famous from the A&E Network hit television show.
The Robertson duo spent much of the evening talking about fame, family, God and Locke’s testimony.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance,” John Luke Robertson read. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When he put down the Bible, he spoke directly to Locke.
“I can’t say anything for you to do, or should do, because, honestly, I just can’t,” he said. “The majority of people don’t understand this verse. ... people like Hannah can. Verses like this are reserved for the few people who go through trials more than the rest of us. She really understands what it means to have faith.”
The 17-year-old junior at Coahulla Creek High School said the support she felt from the Robertsons was “unbelievable.”
“They’re just like they are on TV,” she said. “True Christians and fun to be around.”
Locke has been getting physical therapy to regain movement in her legs, taking her first steps in a year on March 27. She received a spinal injury in a three-car wreck on Dawnville Road on April 5, 2013. She was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit head-on when a car crossed the center lane.
“The biggest struggle is getting feeling and movement back,” she said. “But God gives me the strength to overcome each obstacle daily. I’m working towards it. It will be in his time.”
Sadie Robertson, John Luke’s sister, said “God is using Hannah as a platform.”
“Her friend was telling me backstage that Hannah says, ‘I would never change a thing that happened to me if I had to do it again,’” Robertson said. “She can take this anywhere. She can show people what God can do through something bad that happened in her life, which is amazing.”
Locke said she is hopeful she can walk again. But even if she doesn’t, she said, she’s already seen the good that can “come out of something bad.”
Sadie Robertson later went to Twitter to summarize the night.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, (James 1:2) I aspire to be like this girl,” she wrote to her roughly 1.21 million followers, attached with a picture of her and Locke.