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SEAL of God by Chad Williams
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SEAL of God (edition 2012)

by Chad Williams (Author)

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953207,375 (3.81)None
Days before Chad Williams was to report to military duty in Great Lakes, Illinois, he turned on a television and was greeted with the horrifying images of his mentor, US Navy SEAL Scott Helvenston, being brutally murdered in a premeditated ambush on the roads of Fallujah, Iraq. Steeled in his resolve, Chad followed in Scott's footsteps and completed the US military's most difficult and grueling training to become a Navy SEAL. One of only 13 from a class of 173 to make it straight through to graduation, Chad served his country on SEAL Teams One and Seven for five years, completing tours of duty in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Iraq.Part memoir, part evangelism piece, SEAL of Godfollows Chad's journey through the grueling Naval Ops training and onto the streets of Iraq, where he witnessed the horrors of war up close. Along the way, Chad shares his own radical conversion story and talks about how he draws on his own experiences as a SEAL to help others better understand the depths of Christ's sacrifice and love.… (more)
Member:mfigroid
Title:SEAL of God
Authors:Chad Williams (Author)
Info:Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2012), 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Read in 2019, Bio / Autobio / Memoir, Autographed Copy

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SEAL of God by Chad Williams

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First off, let me say that I do not often read nonfiction, and even less often is the nonfiction I read centered on Christianity-based thoughts and ideas.

Being relatively new to Christianity myself, sometimes I find Christian-based works obtrusive and, for lack of a better word, pushy. With SEAL of God, this was not the case. While there is a Bible quote at the beginning of each chapter, and more references in the later chapters, it was unobtrusive and I was able to become absorbed in the story in a way that few others have been able to grab me.

Chad Williams' accounts of what basic training and advanced SEAL training entailed were descriptive enough that I could feel as though I was going through it with him. Of course, it may have helped that I had worked out for the first time in many years yesterday, so my muscles were sore and achy as I was reading! But seriously, I could imagine the pain and physical and emotional strain that one would go through in that kind of environment.

With the details of his rebellious childhood and achieving a goal, only to find it was not good enough, I was able to relate to all of those points. I was your classic overachiever as a child, always having to one-up myself, and sometimes, I still struggle with that even today.

When Chad accounts what happened that night at church, when it was intended to be just a rouse to get to stay another night just so he could continue his partying and what actually happened was a revelation and a change of life, I felt like I was there with him. When I found my way to church, it was because it was what I thought would make other people happy, and was just going along for moral support for my husband. Somewhere along the way, things just clicked for me, and the message had sunk in.

Not long after that, I struggled to find what God's purpose for me was, and yet, as I stopped struggling, the answer became very clear. My journey to faith is not much different from Chads, and I felt that I was able to relate on a personal level to a man I had never met. I literally had chills as I read this account of one man's life. I was so pulled in that I read this book in under 24 hours. For anyone who has struggled with what God is trying to tell them, I feel that this is a must read.

If I had to give criticism, it would be that I would have preferred for the footnotes to have been listed at the bottom of the page they appeared on, rather than on a separate page at the end of the book. By the time I found out what the footnote was related to, I had to go back and find where it originally appeared and re-read it to be able to relate it to the story. Thanks to Tyndale for a review copy. ( )
  destinyisntfree | Feb 28, 2015 |
First off, let me say that I do not often read nonfiction, and even less often is the nonfiction I read centered on Christianity-based thoughts and ideas.

Being relatively new to Christianity myself, sometimes I find Christian-based works obtrusive and, for lack of a better word, pushy. With SEAL of God, this was not the case. While there is a Bible quote at the beginning of each chapter, and more references in the later chapters, it was unobtrusive and I was able to become absorbed in the story in a way that few others have been able to grab me.

Chad Williams' accounts of what basic training and advanced SEAL training entailed were descriptive enough that I could feel as though I was going through it with him. Of course, it may have helped that I had worked out for the first time in many years yesterday, so my muscles were sore and achy as I was reading! But seriously, I could imagine the pain and physical and emotional strain that one would go through in that kind of environment.

With the details of his rebellious childhood and achieving a goal, only to find it was not good enough, I was able to relate to all of those points. I was your classic overachiever as a child, always having to one-up myself, and sometimes, I still struggle with that even today.

When Chad accounts what happened that night at church, when it was intended to be just a rouse to get to stay another night just so he could continue his partying and what actually happened was a revelation and a change of life, I felt like I was there with him. When I found my way to church, it was because it was what I thought would make other people happy, and was just going along for moral support for my husband. Somewhere along the way, things just clicked for me, and the message had sunk in.

Not long after that, I struggled to find what God's purpose for me was, and yet, as I stopped struggling, the answer became very clear. My journey to faith is not much different from Chads, and I felt that I was able to relate on a personal level to a man I had never met. I literally had chills as I read this account of one man's life. I was so pulled in that I read this book in under 24 hours. For anyone who has struggled with what God is trying to tell them, I feel that this is a must read.

If I had to give criticism, it would be that I would have preferred for the footnotes to have been listed at the bottom of the page they appeared on, rather than on a separate page at the end of the book. By the time I found out what the footnote was related to, I had to go back and find where it originally appeared and re-read it to be able to relate it to the story. Thanks to Tyndale for a review copy. ( )
  destinyisntfree | Feb 28, 2015 |
I always had a special interest for military-themed books (even though I don't read them very often) and this one was a freebie on Amazon, so there was really no reason not to grab this book. The only reason why I did not give it five stars is because of the ending: it really felt like the author was forcing his beliefs onto me, and I truly dislike it. This is one thing that I do not think most of the fervently religious people will ever understand: you don't just shove your religion in other people's face. This is contradictory to the idea of "freedom of choice" that they so strongly defend. For heaven's sake, just let me believe whatever I want!!
That being properly vented, I dare saying it was even a bit better than I expected. The story itself is very enjoyable and the author talks about several aspects of the military training to which I was completely oblivious: the ordeals, the risks, the psychological effects it has on people. So far, I had only seen war through news and video games, but reading reports of war written by someone who has actually been there and seen all sort of things is a different thing. It was also interesting to know more about how the Navy SEALs acted when they were not working (and I was actually disappointed to see that some of them are no better than reckless teenagers, even when they have families worried about them back home), how was their lives as civvies (or at least part of it), how was their relationship with their colleagues (even though I thought this part was a bit lacking, but given the personality Williams said he had, it wasn't anything I was not expecting).
Even after the book started to have a stronger religious appeal (which I usually dislike - and SEAL of God was no exception), the story did not go downhill as I imagined it was about to happen (well, at least not until the final pages, when he finally drops off his job as a Navy). In fact, the story got even more interesting because, aside the excessive Bible quotations, Chad's most difficult problems actually seemed to start at that point, and this is what I really wanted to know regarding a soldier in war: not how his faith was tested, but how he dealt with personal issues in the middle of the battlefield.
Overall, I'm glad to say that this is a book that was definitely worth reading. It was really tough to put it down. But I think that for my next war-related reading, I'll look for something with a lesser religious appeal, for the sake of my own sanity. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
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