Hacksaw Ridge aired last year in other countries but shown in Singapore, only last month. This movie tells an extraordinary “true” story of an American combat medic, Desmond Doss. He saved 75 wounded soldiers during the World War II in Okinawa, Japan, without holding a weapon. His faith and valour are all his weapon to survive the frontline battle, together with the other men, he also fought in the front lines without a firearm or guns by tending to the other soldiers, he was there to perform his duty as a medic and be in aide for the wounded soldiers. He evacuated the wounded from behind the enemy lines, even when all others have left the Hacksaw, he alone stayed and saved as many soldiers as he could, risked his life and bravely faced the dangers of getting killed. His prayer “Lord, please help me save one more” became his motivation and purpose. 

Doss became the first and only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the war. But the road to this distinction was not easy, he faced army court trials, was bullied and judged as ” Desmond the coward” for holding on tightly to his faith in God, his discretions and belief. 

Here are 3 lessons I learned from the true-story movie Hacksaw Ridge. 

1. Learn your purpose. After watching this movie, I am convinced that if one man knows exactly his real, unique purpose in life – everything he does becomes intentional. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get a popular vote or nobody wants to believe your beliefs, as long as you are walking in the purpose God has called you, then everything will make sense. After all life is all about letting God use us in the purpose he called us, like Pvt. Doss, he knew exactly his purpose why he needed to stay in the army, he knew that he don’t need to combat but he must stay because God wants him to be there, to save lives – bring a refreshing help to the wounded. 

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2. Hold Fast to Your Convinctions. This movie also reminded me about the writings of the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 10:23, he says, Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Temptations of this world is always one step away from us, sometimes when life becomes tough, we compromise, we opt to take easy routes to gratify what we thought is a need, but later we’ll find out that the exchange is costly, our convinctions. Pvt. Doss, knew exactly his convinctions and for him it does not matter whether people believed him or not, even if he had to face series of misjudgments, trials and mockery, he held fast to his convinctions, he knew that his relationship with God is real and that’s all that matters. His promise to God was a promise he gave to an eternal living God and he stood by it, even if it caused him his reputation and image. God is a faithful God, He honors us, when we honor Him – later on in his army life, Pvt. Doss excellently executed what God has called him for, he not only saved lives but he fulfilled his calling. He gained respect from men and brought glory to the name of God. 

3. God’s power shines through in our weakness. This is not only true in the life of Pvt. Doss, but to many of us. God is the source of our strength, when we welcome His power to work in us, it definitely shines through. Even in the bible history, God uses the most unimaginable, unexpected, unqualified and weak people to do God’s assignments. Our flaws, imperfections, uncontrollable circumstances and limitations are all part of our inate individuality – if we don’t give it to the One who can fix it all for us, we strive. Some people find it hard to accept it, so they hide it, find excuses or resent them. This pride prevents God’s hand to work in us. God is never limited by our limitations, He is all powerful and He can turn our weaknesses to strengths, He have it altogether for us. Pvt. Doss, knew from the very beginning his emotional weakness and the hurt he hid in his heart – that is why he made a promise to God, to never hold a gun, because he knew that he can’t hurt people. This weak side of his, which his co-soldiers call “cowardness” in God’s perspective is “mercy and healing”. They see it as a weakness, but Pvt. Doss mercy to help the wounded and his eagerness to save as many soldiers as he can, was all that they ever need to see to know that God is on their side. Like the morphine he gives to those who are in pain, saving one person after the other, was that relief of care that no one will ever be abandoned, bravery and strength packaged in one, no one could ever have. 

There are so much to learn from this movie, this is not your ordinary war movie. Let me leave it right here. After watching this movie, I may read the book The Conscientious Objector Documentary. 

Congratulations, Mel Gibson and Andrew Garfield for giving your best to make this film. THANK YOU PVT. DESMOND DOSS, for a fulfilled, purposeful and encouraging life you lived! 

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