If you haven’t seen the movie, Hacksaw Ridge, I encourage you to do so. It is the true story of Desmond Doss, a pacifistic. It is a spiritual, faith-based movie that happens to take place during World War II. Desmond, like most men of the time, enlisted in the war to fight for his country. The difference, though, was Desmond did not want anything to do with guns. He asked to be a conscientious objector and learned how to be a medic. He wanted to save lives, not take them. And because of his faith, he was ridiculed and ostracized by everyone, including his superior officers. Yet, he remained firm in his belief in God.
That faith was tested, however, on Hacksaw Ridge, one of the deadliest and bloodiest battles in Okinawa during WWII. When his entire company was attacked, he experienced and saw things no person should ever see. His company retreated, and he was left up there alone, surrounded by wounded soldiers and the enemy. In despair and emotional torment, he says to God, “Where are you? I can’t hear you? What do you want from me?” Seconds later, a fellow soldier cries for help. It is then, he hears God. In the mud, the blood, the guts and the chaos, he understands what God wants him to do.
And with that, he goes to save as many of his fellow soldiers as he can. Putting his own life at risk each and every time, he drags people to the cliff and lowers them down to safety. He then says, “God, please help me get just one more.” Ultimately, he saved 75 men! Talk about an inspirational story!
Of course, God would feel distant and quiet in the middle of a horrific war, but I know from experience He can seem silent during normal times, too. Desmond Doss realized God didn’t go anywhere, but he had been consumed by his circumstances. How often do we get so busy that we forget to check in with the Father? We go about our business and then wonder why we haven’t heard from Him in a while. He’s not rude and will not push His way into your life. We need to carve out quiet time to not only be with Him but to listen.
When we have space in our lives, God can gently impress upon our hearts what it is He wants to tell us. Other times, God shows us He is near with real-life actions. Desmond was about to save the last man on Hacksaw Ridge, but he was shot in the head. He should have been killed, but his helmet took the bullet. God protected him.
I firmly believe God has protected you and me more times than we know as a way to show us He is near—that He hasn’t gone anywhere. The times we see it and know it are spirit-lifting opportunities for us to express our gratitude and love to the One who made us, loves us and protects us. The times when we doubt Him, don’t see it or can’t quite feel the presence of God are indicators that we have moved. We have been consumed by our circumstances and are focusing on the battle, not the Victor.
Desmond’s act of valor was impossible with just human strength, but with God, he was able. The lessons of the movie are 1) Know what you believe in and stand firm. Do not let the ways of the world persuade or deter you. 2) Stay close to God and His word (Desmond read his Bible every day during a major war!). 3) Have quiet time every day to be with God so you can hear Him. 4) Should you have fears and doubt, look for God. He IS near. 5) Ask God for help, and He will always deliver.
Desmond’s heroic act and faith in God impacted his entire unit to the point that they waited on him to pray before proceeding with their missions. May we be bold and brave with our faith, but may we also be a loving light of hope. 1 Corinthians 13:2 “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”
I share how God has always shown up my life in my book, Defy Your Diagnosis and how God can help us overcome any obstacle. I hope my story inspires and encourages you to remain in faith!