Desmond Doss was an ordinary man who loved an extraordinary Savior. It was his faith in God and a childhood encounter that made him a pacifist; he would not take life from another human being, nor would he pick up a weapon. This firm belief carried him into the beginning of World War II, when he enlisted in the United States’ Army as a medic. He was told he wouldn’t be asked to pick up a weapon.
Yet, Army officials and those he answered to tried to force him to pick up a weapon, and when he refused on religious grounds, he was abused by both superiors and peers, arrested, and almost forced to spend the rest of his life in an Army prison, causing him to even miss his own wedding (or, at least, the first attempt at it). He persevered and relied on God to see him through, and was released and allowed to serve as a weaponless Army medic. All those around him thought he was a sitting duck, destined to die within minutes during battle.
He and his unit were deployed to Japan and fought in one of the most iconic battles of WWII: The Battle of Okinawa. This was the bloodiest battle of the war, and adding to the casualties was Hacksaw Ridge. This ridge was a cliff that the soldiers had to climb to the top of, and as they got to the top, they had to make their way through the destruction and bodies left by the fighting of units before them, knowing that at any moment, they could be attacked by hiding Japanese troops who didn’t fear dying.
Nothing could truly be Hell on earth, but this battle came close.
Doss and his unit made it to the top and fought until dark. At that point, their commanders told them to climb back down the cliff; it would be suicide to try and fight the Japanese in the dark, and they were going to have their offshore ships shell the top in order to try and kill the enemy before daylight. As everyone left, Doss was rescuing yet another wounded soldier, and something struck him before he had the opportunity to go down.
He stayed. All night.
You see, Desmond Doss realized that under the cover of darkness, he could rescue more men than if he had to be extremely cautious of the Japanese. He spent the entire night on that cliff, unbeknownst to everybody except the soldiers receiving the wounded at the bottom. Throughout the night, he kept repeating something:
“One more God, just one more.”
Doss rescued over 75 soldiers by himself during that battle. He received the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman, making history as the first conscientious objector (one who refused to obey Military orders under certain grounds) to ever receive it. Doss passed away in 2006 at the age of 87, still standing firmly on the fact that it was God who gave him strength to do what he did that night, and that it was God who helped him get ‘just one more’ over and over again.
Maybe it’s because reading a list of 2017 Oscar Nominations and seeing the name Hacksaw Ridge among the list of nominees (Andrew Garfield played Desmond Doss perfectly) made me start thinking about the story again. Maybe the story hasn’t left my brain since I last heard it. Whatever the case, I’ve been mulling over this tale for a while now, and something struck me.
If Doss, in the power and strength of God, could rescue man after man physically, why can’t we do the same spiritually?
Think about it. If God would give an Army medic such incredible strength and edify his witness so much, how much more would he give us this strength if we were as persistent about winning lost souls for Christ! How the earth would change if each time we are able to share the Gospel, our prayer was, “One more, God, send me one more.”
Desmond Doss is a legend. He was selfless, and truly broke himself for his fellow man. Yet, even this amazing rescue of men physically cannot compare to Jesus Christ saving a single person spiritually. Doss kept men from dying; Jesus brings the dead to life!
The task at hand is urgent, and requires sacrifice. We must be willing to face humiliation, to risk friendships, family, and everything we hold dear in order to help rescue lost souls. Yet, when we take that leap of faith and share the Gospel with someone, no matter the consequences, we are truly the hands and feet of God; we aren’t a necessary part of bringing lost people to Christ, but he chooses to use us anyway. That is a tremendous honor and burden, and let’s bear it as we should.
Let our prayer be, “One more, God, send me one more.”
(Featured Image Credit: Variety)