Bear Grylls may be known for his wild ways and impressive survival skills, but there’s a side of Bear Grylls many haven’t seen. Bear Grylls believes in God. And if you meet him in person, you’ll quickly learn that he’s unashamed to tell you so.
But Grylls doesn’t claim to be a perfect Christian. In fact, he admits that many of his life’s deepest struggles are what caused him to turn to Christ.
Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls was born on June 7th, 1974, in Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland. At one-week-old, Grylls’ elder sister and only sibling, Lara Fawcett, gave him the famous nickname that’s stuck to this day: “Bear”.
Born to conservative politician, Sir Michael Grylls and his wife, Lady Sarah Grylls — daughter of politician, Patricia Ford; it’s safe to say that Grylls had a fairly prestigious childhood.
When he was 4-years-old, Grylls’ family shifted to Bembridge village on the easternmost point of the Isle of Wight — it was there that young Bear’s wild ways would begin.
From an early age, the adventurous little tyke learned to climb and sail with his father, who was a member of the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron. But Bear’s curious ways and tendency to run towards danger made him a difficult child to raise.
Grylls admitted, “I behaved badly at school, perhaps in part because Dad was working very hard, and often late. My mum, as his assistant, worked beside him. I remember once biting a boy so hard that I drew blood, and then watching as the teachers rang my father to say they didn’t know what to do with me. My father said he knew what to do, and came to the school at once. With a chair placed in the middle of the gym, and all the other children sitting cross-legged on the floor around him, he whacked me until my backside was black and blue.”
Bear became a Cub Scout at the age of eight, earning a dan black belt in Shotokan Karate when he was eleven, and learned to skydive as a young teen, and also was one of the youngest in the world to scale Mt. Everest at 23. Grylls’ formative years were quite impressive, but all the while, he clung to his Faith in Jesus Christ.
In high school, Grylls came across several ‘believers’ that distorted his view of Christianity, and over time, Bear abandoned his Faith.
With stories like miraculously surviving a sinking mud-pit, and getting dismissed from prep school for kissing the headmaster’s daughter; Grylls’ teenage years make even the wildest teenagers appear to be saints.
But everything changed at age 16, when Grylls lost his godfather — who had been like a second father. Crushed with grief and not knowing where else to turn, Bear looked to God.
It was that simple prayer of surrender that finally led young Grylls to “finding his faith” in Jesus Christ once again. Grylls says he soon learned that religion has nothing to do with entrusting your life to Christ, and in fact, Jesus Himself was “the least religious person you’ll meet.”
With a restored faith in Christ, Grylls joined the ‘Territorial Army’ (Army Reserve UK) after high school and worked at the Special Air Service unit of the army for three years. While there, Grylls was a combat survival instructor and learnt demolitions, parachuting, unarmed combat, evasive driving and trauma medic.
During a SAS skydive in 1996, Grylls survived a horrifying parachuting accident in Zambia. His parachute ripped at 16,000 ft, partially opening, causing him to free-fall and land on his back. The accident partially crushed three vertebrae — and almost took his life, but by the grace of God, Bear survived.
Bear met his wife, Shara, at a very inconvenient time. He had finally recovered from his parachute accident and was focused on preparing and training for the climb of his life – the summit of Mount Everest – which was only months away.
That’s when he noticed her. Grylls was attempting a “training hike” for Everest, and with every step, the danger grew. All of the girls began to get frightened, some even to the point of tears, at the difficult terrain. All but one — a beautiful young lady by the name of Shara Cannings Knight persevered and kept her composure.
It was indeed, love at first sight. And from that moment forward, the two wild-hearted adventurers were inseparable and have been together ever since.
Bear and Shara have three sons, Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry — the last of whom was born on their Thames River houseboat — the same “fixer-upper” they purchased just before their wedding. As a family man, Grylls points to his and Shara’s shared faith as the foundation of their marriage.
raise God for His redeeming love and grace! While listening to Bear Grylls’ inspiring story, I just couldn’t help but think of Colossians 1:13-14 which reads,
“God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son He loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.”
Thank you, Bear Grylls, for sharing your inspiring message of Faith! America needs more Christ-followers like you! Please share if you agree!