Desmond T. Doss was a young conscientious objector who enlisted in the military during WWII. He was quickly subjected to ridicule and harassment during basic training because he was unwilling to carry a weapon due to his religious convictions. Doss steadfastly maintained an unwavering commitment to obey God’s commandment not to kill despite the threats and violence from his fellow soldiers. He was determined to serve his country as a combat medic and that determination helped him endure.
In the horror and din of battle, it is essential to keep your head, to stay focused on the objective. Doss knew that his sole purpose was to save lives and that would require him to face enemy fire.
During an intense battle on the island of Okinawa, Desmond Doss fulfilled his true purpose, carrying men to safety who otherwise would probably have died. On one night, after his company had abandoned their position on a high escarpment to return to safety, Doss spent the night on that ridge, in the midst of withering US naval bombardment against dug-in defenders, while carrying injured man after man to the edge and lowering them to safety in a rope sling. Several times during the night, the enemy came out of their caves to scour the battlefield, killing the wounded. With every carry Doss risked his life so that someone else could live.
As a result, 75 men were brought to safety by this one man with no weapon, going fearlessly in the face of the enemy under intense battlefield conditions.
Through the night, as he lowered each man to the ground from the edge of a cliff, he muttered a quick prayer to God, “Please Lord, help me get one more. Help me get one more.”
The next morning, the men of his company, having seen the dozens of rescued buddies getting medical treatment, scrambled back up the cliff wall to renew the fight, saving Doss, wounded four times and unable to do more, totally exhausted from lack of sleep and the physical exertion of carrying out so many lifesaving rescues.
This is what we do every week at MotelChurch and StreetChurch locations. Like medics in the midst of a battle, we run in to save the wounded and lost. There are times when it’s not comfortable, when we don’t feel like doing it, when it seems that the odds are against us. And yet we pray, “Please Lord, help me get one more. Help me get one more.”
In Isaiah 61 the prophet Isaiah says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.”
That’s why we do what we do.
So, here are two questions to ask in the quiet of the morning, in prayer and meditation:
- Are you willing to maintain your convictions, even when its uncomfortable?
- It’s easy to offer the quick fix – money, resources, physical help – when what is hanging in the balance is actually life or death. Are you willing to focus on the objective, to rescue lives from an eternity of death, even when your human side is saying, “just give them some money and you’ll be done with the problem?”
In a war, heroes like Desmond Doss, do their duty without question and with disregard for their own comfort.
On the battlefield of life heroes like you do the same.
Thank you for keeping the focus to save lives!