Last weekend I made a trip to Texas to visit and re-connect with some friends I had lost touch with over the years. One of my reasons for participating in the reunion was to help a couple of the guys who had been going through a rough patch. I was hoping to catch up, listen to the latest chapters in their stories, and bless them with my wit and wisdom. ;-) There was a bit of that, but as the conversations unfolded, I found myself, more often than not, benefiting from their experiences, insights, and examples of courage. I came back home encouraged, in a victorious frame of mind to face down some challenges and doubts I have been experiencing in my life.
And that got me to thinking about Jeremy's story again. You will recall that one of the things that helped Jeremy stand strong as he led his family through the loss of his daughter was the fact that his foxhole brothers refused to allow him to walk that path alone. As men, many of us have a tendency to isolate in times of crisis. We get embarrassed and ashamed. We don't want to be perceived as weak. We think others don't struggle with the same doubts and temptations we do. No one understands. No one cares. I'll lose everyone's respect. When we get into that mindset, we're exactly where the enemy wants us. Which antelope/zebra/wildebeest is always the one that gets taken down? It's the one on the periphery, the one who got separated from his buddies.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." -1 Peter 5:8
The need for community, for fellowship, is real. We're better together. Even Jesus, a man's man if ever there was one, had a group of guys He was tight with, then a sub-group within that group who were with Him almost constantly. You think that might be a pattern worth exploring? And what if I feel like I'm doing good right now? "Got it. No crisis here - nothing I need help with." Two things: Maybe there's someone else who needs to lean on your strength. Or maybe, like me, you're more vulnerable than you may have thought and the encouragement and prayers that flow from an authentic conversation may help you get to the next level in your work, family, or ministry.
So you've read this far and you're saying, "OK, got it - foxhole good." Then riddle me this, Batman: Who are you sharing it with? Is there someone in your sphere of influence that needs the blessing of a small group of guys to come alongside for those bumpy sections in the road of life? You probably know guys who ran out of pavement a while back and are barely hanging on by a thread. Think about it. Pray about it. Then throw them a lifeline.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken". -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12