A Friend Closer Than A Brother

Posted on August 11, 2022 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinions. It is easy in solitude to live after our own. But the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” ~ Uncle* Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

“I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in The Truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.” ~ Jesus, King of The Universe and my Best Friend, in St. John’s Gospel chapter 17


This entry is a little different…

This dialog occurred between two friends that have known each other for over 33 years. I am only including bits of it. ‘H’ and ‘M’ have been there for each other at their very best – and very worst. There are surely friends that stick closer than brothers.



This really is an unbelievable [story], M. Such catharsis! Nothing new to me, but you laid yourself bare, so others can heal. Most of us will hopefully never bear your level of relational pain, but in that crucible of molten lava, YHWH has produced a new “Petros”. He’s building onto you, what He’s built into you. You now cannot help but being the real deal, because you know the cost of faking it.

(Note: Brothers, what are we doing to allow our suffering to fill in around the creases of Christ’s suffering on our behalf? What are we letting it do in us, that we might become an agent of healing for others?!)

He has become sufficient for you. Wow, what a place to know. The marble has stopped rolling in the bottom of the bowl. “Be still and know…” Contemplating Peter stimulated some additional thoughts as to the path towards sanctification.  “Rock” might’ve been Peter’s starting point, but “heart-of-flesh” was his destiny. In Matthew 16:18, Peter didn’t “fake” it.  He was 100% convinced, but conviction alone isn’t enough.  Getting out of the boat to walk on water was an act of “faith,” but “faith” at that point, without absolute and complete understanding of Jesus’ Sovereign ability to supersede reality, was also not enough. Being tested past the point of self-preservation, led Peter to deny his Lord.  These are human failings, but what human wouldn’t have failed?

(Note: where are we being tested beyond human limits – and need the help of the Holy Spirit to be victorious? What is keeping us from yielding to His infinite power?)

In your case, unbelievable relational trials and physical pain, led to human failings even though your conviction that Yeshua was and is the Son of the Living God, remained intact.  In my teeter-totter model of “Emotion-of-the-Flesh” vs. “Emotion-of-Conviction” … the flesh still sometimes wins.  In the unregenerate man, the flesh is the default.  It’s only with the Spirit pushing down on the other side, that the teeter-totter can ever tip the other way.  That taste of victory is possible at the moment of salvation and needs to be explored, prayed and fought for, in order to repeat, before it can ever become our Normal Christian Life.

These undulations in your spiritual journey are also apparent – and your utter, almost uncomfortable transparency, is convicting.  God is having an effect on all who are watching and reading about your journey.  His Spirit is eating up your inner self-reliance, to a degree that many of us can only fear.

(Note: Brothers, what is keeping us from casting off that last bit of ‘self-reliance?’ What are we afraid that might happen? As for this fool of a writer, every time i give Him more of me – my only emotion is confusion: As in, “what was i waiting for!?!?”)

I love you M!  He does too!



Thanks for riding alongside. I know it can be uncomfortable. I work at being transparent enough to get people to think about their own discomfort – and how they might find The Light they need to escape their misery. Thanks for putting up with so much of it though!!

Thank you so much for your note. One of the things that I had to learn was to fully accept that all of this pain absolutely must have meaning. But in doing that, the outcome was simple. Even so, I am still shy to even say it. Regardless, based on what HE has done in me and through me…

Because HE is totally sufficient, I am enough.

(Note: Actually, this is what happens to any man who makes the only reasonable response to G_d, and utterly lays his own life on the altar, that Our L_RD Christ might have His way with us. What is keeping us from presenting ourselves to this altar? Yes it may hurt, but even that hurt will have meaning.)

I have become υἱός, (huios) a fully mature son. I am a son of G_d. I am a friend of The Almighty. I am particularly favored as one of His mighty men in this age. And in all of this, i am humbled so much that I can be a great help to all people, along with being a significant problem for evil.

(Note: Are we willing to believe this reality of our identity in Christ, and then act upon it?!?!)

I had never truly believed any of the above until the last few months. Even with all of my experience, all my real Love for people, all my world-class engineering skills, all the cross-cultural and linguistic talent, all the amazing spiritual experiences, even with constantly placing in the top 3 of almost anything I pursued, all of my mission work since 1982, and on and on… I have always felt like I had to prove that I belonged at the table. But the truth is that i have already been given an inheritance beyond my imagination and am ALREADY seated with Him in Heavenly places.

(Note: Are we willing to see that, really none of what we have done makes us who we are? Our identity is inseparable from the Designer Who formed us in His image – then wove that design together in the womb. But in embracing that identity we become eternally amazing!).

It is hard to describe the Peace He has given me. Oh yes the first layer a decade ago was real and deep… But as He has brought me through this last terrible season, this is something other. It so quiet in my soul and spirit. If my tinnitus went away it would be even more amazing 😃😃.

(Note: Pro tip: When working at an airport, never stand directly in front of a running 737-100 or 200 aircraft without hearing protection… If the pilot juices the engines, the blasting, high-pitched roar of those old Pratt & Whitney JT8D low bypass turbofan engines, produces a cone of noise directly forward that will rock your world).

Thanks for the mental picture: The lava creating the little “Petros…” It makes me think of the really big stars that are the furnaces for forming of all the elements in the periodic table beyond Hydrogen – it took thousands, millions, or billions of years to create and release most of those heavier atoms… Some of this is stardust that makes the dust from which Our Father formed us in Eden’s garden. All of this has deepened my surrender to Him. The weirdest part? In being crushed so hard, and then being totally set aside to Him, with nothing mattering but Him – i feel like i have become more fully connected to every human being and the rest of all life around me…

(Note: Who are we that we be given the Grace to made into spiritual diamonds in only 80 or so years!?!? What in the world are we thinking when we think we should live like those in the world?!?!)

Thanks again, it is good to be on the other side of that storm!



“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~ Proverbs 18

*I am greatly indebted to this great great great…… uncle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who begat so many poets and writers in my family. My prayer is that my writing might glorify G_d, and impact souls like yours has done.


Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

Think About This: “The truth in God’s Word isn’t always easy to digest. It doesn’t always feel good to live like He’s called us to live. Sometimes we feel beat up and bruised as we seek to swim upstream against the culture and live out His plan, but He stretches us in ways that are ultimately for our good.” – Candace Cameron Bure

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 90-92Romans 11:1-21| You can download our 2022 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11

Want to get away & have dedicated time to read & learn God’s Word?

Consider a retreat at America’s Keswick retreat center.


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