A couple days ago I saw the movie “Act of Valor”, a movie about the Navy SEALS’ counter terrorist operation that took place all over the world, but would have ultimately ended in 16 high explosives going off in key cities in the US, ultimately causing the economic collapse of the US had the SEALS not stopped it. Yes, this happened. And not too long ago, either. Had it not been for the SEALS, who knows where we’d be right now. It was a phenomenal movie, and highly suggest anyone with moderate interest in the military go see it.
I am also currently reading a book called “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell, a (I believe former) Navy SEAL who was sent on a mission to take out a high value target in Afghanistan, and after less than 24 hours of Operation Red Wing (That was the name of the op) being called a “go”, he was the only remaining member of his team of 4 Navy SEALS, all of whom were his best friends. He had to survive in Afghanistan while more than 150 of al Qaeda’s soldiers were attempting to find and kill him. Amazingly, he survived and is still here today. His book is among the best I’ve ever read.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I’ve been devoting a lot of my time to military things, especially SEAL stuff, so I’ve been thinking a lot about it. If you know me well, you know that if I start talking about the military, I basically can’t stop, which is why I’m going to start a series with this blog relating the will power and force of the American military to that of how we should act as “God’s Soldiers”. So let’s get into it, shall we?
In today’s post we’ll be focusing on the unbreakable will-power shared in one of our nation’s most elite forces, the Navy SEALS. Let’s start with their training. SEAL training is among the toughest military training in the world. I’ll explain the process for you: First, the SEALS have boot camp, or basic military training. After this, someone wanting to become a SEAL goes to a new training base to start Indoctrination, or Indoc, as it is commonly referred to among recruits. Indoctrination is the training for the SEAL training. Yeah, you heard that correctly. Pre-training training. It lasts about two weeks and is extremely though and taxing on the body and mind. Allow me to walk you through a normal day at Indoc…
Wake up at 0550 (5:50 AM)
Go to the showers to get blasted by freezing jets of water to start the day.
Run a mile to the chow hall to get breakfast.
Run another mile back to the training grounds.
Do an Un-Godly amount of pushups, flutter kicks, and sit ups, according to how many your instructor tells you to and how mad he is at your class on that particular day.
Run. A lot. On average, a class at Indoc will run 8 miles a day (Not including the mile run to and from the chow hall for every meal).
Do whatever training phase your class is in at the time (Firearms, swim, obstacle courses, in class work, etc.)
Go to bed anywhere from 1100 to 0100 (Again, depending on how mad your instructor is at you that day.)
During these days, at any time, your class can and most certainly will be told to “Hit the surf” or “Get wet and sandy”. This involves running like the world is about to end to the beach, taking a dip in the near freezing water, rolling around in the sand until your skin chafes and becomes itchy all over, and running like the world is going to end back to your instructor.
Also, during these days, if your rooms are not perfectly spotless, no matter the reason (that includes having an instructor come into your room and dump sand all over while you are cleaning and ask you why you’re living in a sand pit), instructors will tell you to hit the surf or “Push ‘em out” (AKA do pushups) and then send you back to your rooms to clean, no matter the time of the night.
So that’s Indoc. Typically a class will start with about 200 students and end up with 150 or less by the end of it because of drop outs. After a few weeks of Indoc comes BUD/S. BUD/S stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALS. Those who survived Indoc get the great honor of a new instructor, new dorms, and a new regime for training. Much like Indoc, you run a lot, do a lot of pushups, etc, etc, etc, only now it’s about 10 times as hard and as opposed to a couple of weeks, BUD/S is 6 months. Recruits are pushed past their mental and physical limits on a daily, excuse me, hourly basis and are always being reminded that if one person fails, the whole team is punished. Only a select few people out of the 200 people who signed up make it through BUD/S, and it is a great honor.
So, why did I tell you about all of this? I for one know that I could never make it through Indoc, let alone BUD/S, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. When I first learned about SEAL trading, I thought, “Why in the world would anyone subject themselves to such misery?”, and now I have a small understanding of why they do. These soldiers have inside of them a few things.
A. They feel that they are meant to follow the call of the SEALS and would do anything to get there.
B. Their willpower is stronger than just about any other person you’ll know. They would rather die than give up on something.
C. An undying faith that they will get through whatever task, problem, or situation they face, and they will come out on top. Every time.
These, along with many other things, cause the SEALS to have a mental inability to give up, and their job absolutely requires that. A single failure or lack of detail could cause the death of a squad mate, so they do everything within their power to make sure that something like that does not happen. Ever. I have the utmost respect for every single person in the US military, because I know for a fact that many of the things they do are things I could not.
But what does God want for us? What is it that we need to answer His great call and to carry out the things he has given us the responsibility to do? I would wager that one of the answers is this: The will and faith of a SEAL. I’ve explained to you what that looks like above in a military mindset, but think about how much of God’s work could be done if we, as Christians, acted like Navy SEALS. Like… Well, like God’s soldiers! What if we persevered through every situation, every one of God’s calls, and sought to crush evil at every turn? I believe that this is what God calls us to do. God wants us on the front lines, fighting for him. If we would take up our arms and shower the world with God’s love, think of the works we could accomplish.
Remember, we don’t need to do it alone. The SEALS operate as a hive mind, as one body, to accomplish every task. Sound familiar? To me, this sounds like how we as Christians should act. God calls us to be one body. United, not separable, and unbreakable, With wills and faith like the SEALS.
Think about this over the next few minutes, hours, days, however long you see fit. Really evaluate yourself. Are you living up to this standard? I know that much of the time I am guilty for not living up to this standard. I’ll admit, it’s a big and scary task, but we have an even bigger God to help us get there, so why not go for it? Let’s all make a commitment to try to live like this. As God’s Soldiers. My prayer for everyone, myself included, is that we don’t just try. We do. That we would have faith and wills like SEALS. Let’s do it. Hoorah (I forgot to mention, they say that a lot. It’s never “Right away, sir!”! Or “Of course!”. It’s always HOORAH! Just a fun fact.) As always, thanks for reading, I’ll see you next time.