Can an Army Transport Ship be an Ark?

Lessons from Bill Murray’s “Stripes”

They say laughter’s good for the soul. True. I watched Bill Murray last night in the movie “Stripes” and still have a smile on my face. (John Candy’s in it, too–double-fun!) Murray decides the Army is his ticket to the Good Life. But, he quickly finds out Army life is harder than T.V. ads would have you believe. When a new recruit can’t climb up the rope ladder, his sergeant hollers: “Even WOMEN can do this!”

I laughed till I cried, watching Bill Murray (playing the role of John Winger) trying to get the benefits while avoiding the punishments of Army life: 10 mile runs at 5 am; hand-scrubbing garbage cans; doing 50 push-ups in the rain. More than once, John considers going AWOL. He would have, too, except it’s a federal offense and he’d be even worse off. Finishing Basic Training/Boot Camp feels like the worst thing he’s ever had to face in his life.

I’ve been going through God’s Boot Camp making some major lifestyle changes. At first I threw temper tantrums because I wanted my life to stay “comfortable.” I wanted it to stay the same.

A day or two ago I started to see things differently. Now it’s a “point of honor” to get through this in such a way that I come out respecting myself. Can I live what I’ve said I believe? Do I trust God to do what He said and never let me down?

Surprisingly, I feel healthier and stronger than before. (I’d thought the changes would kill me.) “Happiness” may come later. At least, I intend to enjoy a few good laughs every time I get the chance.

That’s where Bill Murray (“John”) and his friends come in. I need humor in my life. My favorite scene in “Stripes” is where John says to his platoon (cheering them on to practice for the graduation ceremony): “We’re all different. But, one thing we have in common is that we all made the same stupid decision to join the Army!”

Stupid? Or, was it smart?

John wanted to change his life for the better. He hadn’t liked the direction he was heading in. A talented guy, but he’d messed up everything good in his life. He needed motivation to change. The Army gave him that‒along with a burning desire to graduate!

Discipline and hard training don’t feel good when you’re starting out. But, the results can be out of this world. I know that even if it takes awhile, my Graduation Day is coming.

Get me on that Army transport ship; it’s God’s Ark.
I’m a soldier and proud to be one.


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