Bear Grylls: Mud, Sweat & Tears

CBN.com -Recently CBN Reporter Chuck Holton spoke with adventurer, Bear Grylls. “There’ve been a lot of bad swamps and mangrove jungles and stuff over the years, but I love the fact there’s such a strong link between survival and life.” 

Bear Grylls is known around the world as an outdoor adventurer, survivalist - and the star of Discovery Channel’s Man Vs Wild series. Before becoming a celebrity, he served three years with the elite British Special Air Service, or SAS, where he honed his survival skills. But most people aren’t aware of his deep love for God.

Bear Grylls: “I always had a really natural faith as a kid. Where I knew God existed and it felt very free and pretty wild and natural, and it wasn’t religious. Then I went to school and suddenly it all became much more religious, and I thought, ‘Oh I don’t like this.’ It was all about church going and telling you not to smoke behind the bike shed when you are age 12.”

Chuck:  “In the book you said, ‘I wasn’t really interested in the God of endless school assemblies.’”

Bear: “I thought, ‘if that’s God maybe I’ve got the whole deal wrong,’ and I kind of ditched my faith.”

Bear grew up on the Isle of Wight in England.  He’s always had a close knit family and has added lots of friends along the way. In his newly released autobiography, Mud, Sweat and Tears, Bear explains how the death of a close friend brought him back to his faith.

Bear: “At the age of 16 I lost my Godfather who was like a second father to me. He lived with us and we were super close.  (It happened) totally out of the blue and it was a real shock to me. I remember wanting to pray but not knowing how to, and I remember sitting up in this tree and saying a very simple prayer that said, ‘Will You be that friend to me that You were when I was like five or six and it felt natural? Amen.’”

“And that was actually a prayer of finding a faith. And I think for life now it’s still a continued journey of not letting too much of the religious stuff cloud the heart of faith that is very simple. It’s about being loved. It’s about being forgiven. It’s about finding home. And those are great things that all of us need.”

Bear’s faith has grown along with his thirst for adventure. At 23 he became one of the youngest people to scale Mt. Everest. He says he relied on prayer and scripture throughout the dangerous and potentially deadly climb.

Bear: “That’s what I’ve always loved. It’s what I’ve always loved about high mountains that it requires more than just the physical.”

Chuck: “In reading your book, you talk about your faith as your secret strength.” 

Bear: “My faith was, as you say has been a quiet strength, like a backbone, that’s sustained me a lot during those times when you’re at your wits end, and have nothing more to give.”

Bear has had many more adventures since Everest, and his relationship with God has carried him through them all.

Bear: “The journey’s been that faith has been the wildest ride. And Jesus, the heart of the Christian faith is the wildest, most radical guy you’d ever come across.  He was always hanging around with the prostitutes and the tax collectors and having parties and banquets, and I found myself drawn to that character not the kind of fluff that we like to box as religion.”  

“I always get asked by people difficult religious questions and I just say, ‘Sometimes, I don’t know. I don’t know. I know I’m loved.’ And that’s the heart of Christianity. And that can be a life time journey to wade through the stuff to get to that.”

Chuck: “From the house wife or the accountant that says, ‘I can’t go climb Everest. I can’t go trek through the jungles, but I want to have adventure. How can I do that?’”

Bear: “The thing is, everyone wants adventure and it’s great. I hang out all the time with kids and young scouts and I never meet kids who don’t want adventure. Life tells us we have to be more sensible and you’ve got to do that, and we grow out of our kid selves and life is a journey about not growing out of it really. But the thing is, you don’t have to climb Everest. Adventures don’t have to be super extreme to get what the heart of adventure is about. To me, adventure has always been to me the connections and bounds you create with people when you’re there. And you can have that anywhere. I take my kids on loads of adventures, where we totally get that.” 

“The joy for me is climbing a little thing 50 feet high. It’s nice and not too steep, and I do it with my eight year-old and we take a flask of tea and we sit on a ledge half way up and have some tea and that’s adventure and the magic of adventure right there in a nutshell.”

Bear and his wife Shara are the parents of three energetic boys. So when he’s done doing the dirty work of survival, he’s home. In the field, whether he’s jumping from great heights or buried up to his neck, Bear has learned the hard lessons of faith.

Bear:  “I think my faith through that journey has been an important thing. I found it hard to talk about for a long time. But I look back now and realize that it takes a proud man to say he never needs any help. I’m not that man now.”

“And I love that great verse from The Message it says, ‘You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there’s more of God.’”

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