Yesterday afternoon I watched a marathon of Clint Eastwood movies, then I noticed on the History Channel schedule that the movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘ would be the evening movie. I have wanted to see that for quite a while, so I fixed an early supper and settled down to watch. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is the true story of a young man, Desmond Doss, who grew up in the mountains of Virginia, and became a Combat Medic and war hero during World War II. He was a Seventh-day Adventist and Conscientious Objector, in other words he refused to carry any sort of weapon or kill others because of his religious beliefs. Doss wanted to enlist and help in the war as a Medic, he wanted to save people, not kill them. The movie begins with his rough childhood while being raised by an alcoholic father then goes into his being a deeply religious young man, falling in love, enlisting in the Army, the fight he had with his commanders over being a different kind of soldier, and his Company going into battle on top of the cliffs of Okinawa. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ was directed by Mel Gibson, so the battle scenes were about as realistic and intense as a movie can get. In the end Desmond Doss saves 75 wounded men on his own while being shot at by the Japanese and then having to lower each man one at a time down the side of a cliff. Doss, who was nicknamed “Cornstalk” by his drill sergeant because he was so thin, was awarded the Bronze Star twice for his actions in Guam and the Philippines. Because of his actions at the Battle of Okinawa he was awarded the Medal of Honor. As a weary Corporal Doss rescued those men on Okinawa, the words he prayed before he went back for each man were, “Please God, help me to save just one more.”
How amazing those words were coming from that young man’s lips while he was in such danger. He was unarmed, but he knew the Lord was with him, God was his shield. He was weary, but he knew he had to go running into danger in order to save as many men as he could. As a Christian I would really like to be more like Desmond Doss. “Please God, help me to save just one more.” I’m not good with words, I’m better with writing out things that I feel and believe. I want to get better at answering questions and speaking about God and Jesus, about faith in salvation through Christ. I know a lot of Christians as I do, feel ill equipped to do so. I grew up in a Christian home and Jesus is all I’ve ever known, so it’s hard for me to walk in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know Christ as I do. I’ll just have to keep on doing the best that I know how for Him and maybe I can get some lost folks to know what I know. Like our pastor back home talked about today, as Believers we can plow the field, plant the seed, and then pray that God will send His rain to sprout what was planted. What can grow from that plowed field is a life anew. I get weary sometimes on this battlefield of life. Sometimes it’s just too much, too ugly and mean, exhausting, but what can be saved from life’s daily battlefield are the wounded and hurting, bandaged up and healed because of Christ. The reward, our “Medal of Honor” we will receive when we get to heaven, will depend on how many times we decided to whisper these words, “Please God, help me to save just one more” and then run back out into this crazy mixed up world with God as our shield to help save as many as we can.
When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! All these new things are from God who brought us back to Himself through what Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into His favor and be reconciled to Him. For God was in Christ, restoring the world to Himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message He has given us to tell others.
—2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Corporal Desmond Doss receiving the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman