Recently I had the opportunity to see a resurgent Mel Gibson's latest movie, Hacksaw Ridge, the story of a young man from the hill country of Virginia who served so valiantly as an Army medic during the Battle of Okinawa near the end of World War II. Desmond Goss, a Seventh Day Adventist and conscientious objector, refused to carry a weapon but also wished to stay in the Army, finally allowed to serve as a combat medic. He decided that in a field of killing and destruction there was something good he could do to help others in great times of need.
Serving with front line troops, he still had great questions about what God wished for him to do, but he finally found the answer while serving as a medic for an Infantry unit at the top of the Maeda Escarpment (dubbed Hacksaw Ridge in the movie). The escarpment had been attacked many times with heavy fire and manpower, yet in each previous attempt the American advance was repulsed by Japanese soldiers fighting to the death from a moonscape of combat destruction, yet surviving in an intricate underground tunnel system.
Desmond's unit was also called to pullback, but in doing so quickly many wounded comrades were left alive but immobile on the battlefield, easy prey for Japanese combatants looking to destroy all who were still living. It was then that Goss realized what his mission truly was as a medic: to remain at the top of the escarpment and save as many of his surviving unit members as he could.
Over extended dangerous hours including the nighttime darkness, Goss moved about with stealth in this killing field, dragging a total of seventy-five wounded Americans to the edge of the escarpment where he, with no other support, lowered them to safety below by rigging up an operational rope harness delivery system. Exhausted and near collapse, he continued to ask God to allow him to "get just one more" until all those he could remove were gone.
His unit was called the following day to once more assault the position and Goss went with them despite his exhaustion and with hands raw from rope burns. He wanted to make sure, however that he saved anyone left on the top of the escarpment from Hell.
That last assault quelled once and for all the major defensive force on the island and with Okinawa's surrender so ended the last major battle against Japan. The Battle of Okinawa was the bloodiest and most destructive extended fight in the Pacific Theater, lasting over sixty days and Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who would not carry a rifle became the first of his class to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
From his time as a young man wanting to serve his nation albeit without a weapon, to the moment God let him know what he was called to do, Desmond Doss patiently waited for his assignment and asked God to show him the way. We can all learn a great lesson from this young man and we all need to always remember that God has a plan for each of us. We just have to keep ourselves open to His wisdom and let Him show us just what it is.
God bless you all and may God bless the soul of Desmond Doss, who ultimately was given the peace of rest for eternity with His Father above in 2006. The Lord does truly work in mysterious ways. Realizing that should give us comfort, no matter what we face.