Please, Lord, Help Me Get One More
My wife took me to a war movie last night. Yes, that’s right, it was her idea. A friend had posted that Hacksaw Ridge was the most inspirational movie she had seen in a long time and since it was now in the cheap theater she asked if we could go see it. I willingly agreed, but must admit I had some anxiety.
To be totally honest, I have a hard time watching war movies made in the modern era. I saw Saving Private Ryan in the theater when it came out in 1998 and I couldn’t sleep for three days. I’ve seen a handful of others since and confirmed that realistic portrayals of combat and their grisly results affect me strongly. But the review sounded compelling and there was no way I was going to appear less eager to see a war movie than my wife.
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss, a young soldier from West Virginia who served in one of the bloodiest battles in World War II, on the island of Okinawa. I say ‘served’ instead of ‘fought’ because Doss was a conscientious objector who refused to touch a weapon. Instead, he served as a medic.
No one understood his unusual conviction, drawn from his Seventh-Day Adventist faith, and the first half of the movie depicts the great struggle he endured simply to be allowed to serve on the battlefield. However, doubts and opposition turned to astonishment and gratitude for this unarmed soldier in the midst of their first horrific battle. Most of his regiment was forced to retreat, but Doss alone stayed and carried wounded comrades away from the battlefield, lowering them one by one over an escarpment to safety.
All night Doss continued his search and rescue, narrowly avoiding Japanese patrols. As his exhaustion deepened, he kept praying, “Please, Lord, help me to get one more.” When he was done, he had rescued 75 men, all without firing a single shot.
I did not sleep as well as usual last night, not from disturbing scenes of warfare, but from Doss’ inspiring example. The winsome and courageous manner in which he sought to rescue the dying men around him without compromising his convictions inspires me to do the same. I hope this restlessness does not soon subside.