Former Navy SEAL Speaks at Megachurch: Living for Oneself Leaves You Hungry
Former Navy SEAL Chad Williams, who last served in Iraq, spoke at Pastor Greg Laurie's California megachurch on Sunday, sharing through his own story how living for ourselves leaves us hungry and thirsty for more, a fact that made him turn to Christ for fulfillment in life.
Williams, who was last posted in Iraq, decided to be a Navy SEAL when he was a teenager, as he wanted to do something worthwhile, something challenging in his life, he told the congregation of the Harvest Christians Fellowship in Southern California on Sunday morning.
He told his dad about it. His dad then contacted Navy SEAL Scott Helvenston on the Internet, and requested him to meet his son and tell him the reality, that he cannot become one. But when Williams met Scott, he proved himself to be serious about it. Scott began to train him on a daily basis.
In 2004, when Williams was finally about to go for his training, Scott left for an assignment in Iraq.
One day soon thereafter, Chad turned on his television and saw a smiling still image of Scott. On the ticker underneath the screen was mentioned Scott's birthdate and "March 31, 2004," separated by a dash. Then he watched the video footage of Scott, who was like a second father to him, being viciously murdered and mutilated, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and then hung upside-down from the Euphrates River Bridge, as an Iraqi mob repeatedly chanted in Arabic, "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans."
Williams said watching that tape changed him completely, and further motivated him to make it through the SEAL training.
And he made it. He graduated as a SEAL, but only to find that he wasn't as happy as he thought he would be. He quoted Christian thinker Ravi Zachariah, who said, "One of the loneliest moments a man will ever experience is when he has achieved that which he thought would deliver the ultimate and in the end it lets him down."
Williams, author of SEAL of God, added that when we are disappointed with our achievement, we begin to reason with ourselves and raise the bar. We get into a "vicious cycle," until we reach the top, only to be disappointed again.
This is what happens "when you invest only into yourself for only what the world has to offer," he said.
"I was better off not being a SEAL in my mind and looking forward to becoming a SEAL – because then, at least, I had something to drive me, to invest into. But now that I have arrived, I realize that I'm just the same person. I had to put on a front."
Williams said he got into drinking. His parents always wanted him to go to church, but he resisted. But one day in March 2007, when he needed to pick up a keg of beer that he had stashed in the garage of their parents' home, he told his parents he would go with them to a special event at their church that day. He thought after they're all back from church, he would go to the garage and pick up the keg.
At the church that night, Pastor Greg Laurie preached from 2 Kings chapter 5, about a Syrian commander, Naaman. Williams could relate with Naaman. And when Laurie explained how Naaman's leprosy was like our sin, Williams understood what needed to be done. He received Jesus into his heart.
Williams said his life changed, and he has never returned to drinking.
Williams also mentioned Friday's Paris attacks, which killed at least 129 people and wounded more than 350 others. He said his job in Iraq was to hunt down "some pretty evil men," who were just like the attackers in Paris, people who make suicide belts and bombs.
What motivates Islamist jihadists is that they think they are doing God a service by killing "infidels," he explained. They want to create a worldwide caliphate. But "they've bought into a lie," he said.