“Please, Lord, help me get one more!”
– Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, U.S. army medic during World War II, as portrayed in the film “Hacksaw Ridge”
I intensely dislike war movies and hate the sight of blood. The movie Hacksaw Ridge has both, it’s pretty disgusting from a things-you-don’t-want-to-see point of view, but I hope that you will take the time to get it from video on demand.
The trailer tells the story, and since it was broadcast frequently at the time of the movie’s release, you probably have seen it. A World War II conscientious objector is ridiculed, beat, tried and all-around tormented because he refuses to pick up a gun and kill.
They call him a coward.
But over the course of the movie, Desmond Doss shows that he is braver than anybody out there.
In a world of men taking lives, Doss chooses to save lives.
There is a moment in the movie when he looks up at God. “What is it that You want from me? What do you want?”
We watch him searching for the answer in his mind.
And we see his face register understanding, too. Something “clicks.”
Against completely impossible odds, Doss spends the rest of his life doing the equivalent of lifting a car by one hand.
By the end of it, his commander tells him, “I know your Sabbath is tomorrow, but the men need you to go up there (and fight the last battle) with them.”
Doss looks at his boss as if to say, I don’t understand.
The boss says, “They understand God differently from you, but they want a piece of your faith.”
And when it seems that Doss is about to breathe his dying breath, all he can say is “My Bible.” The men run to get it for him.
What does God want from me? From you? From all of us?
Why should God want, or need, anything? He is God!
The answer is beyond our limited human comprehension.
But in my soul I believe, we are all in the end just a tiny piece of the light.
It torments God, so to speak, to see that the world He created has suffering.
He wants nothing more than to redeem us, and to turn it all for the good.
The way we get there is like the theme of the Wizard of Oz: Home was always there, but you told yourself you were lost. If you would have clicked your heels three times and said, I want to go home, the whole ordeal would have been over.
As a friend of mine said in synagogue, “The angels are singing 24/7. But you don’t listen!”
God is asking us to listen to him, and then He, in turn, will take us the rest of the way.
An interesting movie note: Hacksaw Ridge was directed by Mel Gibson, who also directed Braveheart. Both tell the story of a single man who made a difference in the course of history; one by saving lives in war, the other by taking them.
One thing is absolutely certain. God manifested each of us for a different purpose.
That’s why it’s not good to promote conformity.
Teach me the right way, O Lord, that I may follow you in both conscience and wisdom.
Save me from false thinking and false paths.
All opinions my own. Photo: Screenshot from the movie “Hacksaw Ridge.”
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