Hacksaw Ridge

Soldiers climbing up the side of the ridge for battle. From the Hacksaw Ridge website.

I went to see Hacksaw Ridge awhile back with some friends. I love a great story. Without ruining too much, Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss who serves in World War II as a medic. Ok, turns out I can’t tell the rest of this story without ruining some of the movie. Heed this warning, and read on at your own risk.

As medic Desmond Doss fights for his right to serve as a conscientious objector, he faces extreme diversity within the army. He refuses to carry a weapon and the other soldiers wonder how he could protect or fight for them in battle. In time he wins over the others in his battalion and is allowed to serve. Sent with his battalion he serves as others fight in the Battle of Okinawa where they must scale a ridge, hence Hacksaw Ridge, in order to overtake the Japanese.

In my eyes, it does not seem to go super well for either side with carnage everywhere. The Americans retreat down the ridge. Doss refuses to retreat. He lays at the top of the ridge praying, “I don’t know what to do, God”, might not be an exact quote. Then he hears a cry. In a heroic feat he goes back and drags the wounded to the edge of the ridge again and again. He then, alone, repels the injured down. The determination, stubbornness, and kindness Doss shows struck me to the core.

It struck me as a teacher. It struck me as a former young life leader. It struck me as follower of Christ.

What if I lived my life like this? What if I chased Christ and others with such reckless abandonment? Doss did not know if the men he risked his life for would live or die, yet he kept going back. He did not know the outcome, but it did not deter him. He trusted God. We don’t always know what God is doing. We do not always see the huge picture God paints. We do not posses His vision. But we can chose to invest in others and serve regardless.

You might feel like your effort is in vain. You might feel like going to work every day and working with eight year old kids who throw fits for no apparent reason despite your best efforts means nothing. You might feel like all of the time and effort you put into walking out life with a high school girl who just does not get it yet will never amount to anything. You might feel like all of the diapers you change at home or the constant flow of spit up you clean up means nothing. It might feel like the monotony of your day will never amount to anything.

But God. Keep going back through the war torn carnage. Choose to go back through for one more of the wounded. Choose to trust that despite not knowing who will live or die, you will fight for them, even if they don’t look like you or sound like you. Keep showing up. Keep investing in others. Keep going.

We do not always know what God plans. We can’t see the whole picture. What we can do, keep going.   

His plan supersedes anything we could imagine. I see this truth each time I stop to process through my own life. I see how God proves Himself faithful when I stop to remember. When I stop to build little ebenezer stones of the many ways God shows Himself faithful, it always blows my mind. When I look back and see the story of how God uses my simple act of obedience in showing up or not giving up despite it all seeming fruitless.

God uses your obedience. I believe we will never see the full fruit of our acts of obedience this side of heaven, but He sometimes leaves us little trails of fruit when we stop to look for them. You may not pull wounded soldiers off of enemy lines and repel them down a cliff, but each and everyone one of our stories can mean moving from death to life for someone.

Do not lose heart my friend. Keep serving. Keep obeying. Keep showing up. Keep fighting for the hearts and lives of those around you. Our responsibility does not lie in the outcome. It merely lies in the act of us obeying Christ. So no matter the hardships, the lack of desired outcomes, no matter the cost, continue onward. Love others well in the way that God calls you and you alone. You never know what picture God weaves with your faithfulness.  

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