Courage for God’s Men: Brothers

Dear Readers,

This week we have SUCH a treat for you. Hear straight from the heart of ABM staff missionary Conrad Peters as he courageously shares about life and polar bear plunges!_____________________________________________________________________

I remember back when I preached my first sermon at the ripe old age of seventeen. I knew a lot back then, much more than I do now. I especially knew I was right, and that was really important when I was growing up. I had the right theology, the right words, the right training, and a heart full of pride. What I didn’t have was a lot of friends. I didn’t really have one close friend. Yep, when you’re always right, always have the answer, and always know just what to say… you guessed it, it’s like having bad BO or death breath. People keep their distance and isolation sets in.

Some of us in ministry don’t have BO, we just happen to be in a place where there aren’t a lot of options for close friends. If we are married, hopefully our wife is a close friend. As I look back on many years of ministry, raising a family, trying to grow up, and living life without a close brother in the Lord, I can truly say I’ve missed out. A close friend will love me even in the worst times of my life. He will bring encouragement, perspective, and truth I so desperately need. How do I find a friend like that? They seem few and far between.

While living in Alaska, I heard about the Polar Plunge, which has nothing to do with ice fishing in the Arctic. It does mean that you jump into water that’s barely above freezing and hope to live through it without a heart attack. No thanks, amigo! That’s a spectator sport for me.Transparency and vulnerability can feel like a polar plunge. I have to begin to share my life, my passions, my heart, and my struggles. I need to listen to another’s life as well, and allow them to speak truth and courage into me. I have to be willing to build a relationship. That takes time and time is costly. But what is costly holds a lot of value.

I took a polar plunge lately and joined a men’s group. I even lived through it without a heart attack! I’m no longer just a spectator. How refreshing to hear their stories, share mine, and know we are in this battle together. What a blessing to pray for each other and together trust what God will do. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17). Want to be sharp, stay sharp, and have a part in sharpening someone else? We have to take the plunge. Call someone, maybe a couple of guys and begin to be open and honest. We have to drop the facade, admit we’re all broken, and enjoy the freedom of being known yet loved.