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Courage under Fire

Contributor: Mike

Scripture: 2 Samuel 23:13-17

There were three mighty men that came to David in the cave of Adullam. They came to identify themselves with David in the days of his poverty and reproach.

Many people have been ready to risk their lives in carrying out some service for the kingdom of God, but David’s mighty men were ready to face death to do something wholly for the gratification of David. They broke through the host of the Philistines, drew water from the well, and brought it to David. This act of devotion and courage delighted the heart of David, and he saw in it a sacrifice for which the Lord alone was worthy. Hence, refusing to drink the water, he pours the water out before the Lord.

During the ages God has raised up people capable of these mighty deeds, demanding courage in the face of great adversity for the benefit of people, as well as for the glory of our Lord.

The following is a brief transcript describing the courage of one man who saved the lives of many of his comrades.

The Conscientious Objector was a documentary film about the life of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who received a Medal of Honour for his service in WWII.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Doss enlisted in the Army to serve as a combat medic. His father Tom, a WWI veteran, was very upset by the decision.

Doss is placed in basic training, he excels physically, but becomes an outcast among his fellow soldiers for refusing to handle a rifle. The unit completes basic training and is released on leave, but his refusal to carry a firearm leads to an arrest for insubordination. A letter from his father’s former commanding officer stating that his son's pacifism is protected by the U.S. Constitution, leads to the charges against Doss being dropped.

After training the unit was assigned to the 77th Infantry Division and deployed to the Pacific. During the Battle of Okinawa, they were tasked with ascending and securing the Escarpment known as "Hacksaw Ridge". During the initial fighting, there were heavy losses on both sides, the Japanese launching a massive counterattack to drive the Americans off the ridge, many of the squad are left injured on the battlefield.

Hearing the cries of dying soldiers Doss returns to save them during the night, carrying the wounded to the cliff's edge and belaying them down by rope, each time praying,” Lord let me save just one more”. The continuing arrival of wounded soldiers, came as a huge shock to the rest of the unit below. When day breaks, Doss escapes Hacksaw Ridge under heavy enemy fire.

Doss is told that they are scheduled to retake the ridge on Saturday and his fellow comrades would not go into battle unless he was with them. He agrees but the operation is delayed until he finishes his Sabbath day prayers. With reinforcements, the allied forces turn the conflict in their favour. Doss was wounded by a grenade blast, but the battle was won. He was brought down the cliff, clutching the Bible given to him by his wife.

Due to his religious convictions as a Seventh Day Adventist, he refused to carry a weapon. He initially faced opposition, persecution, and ridicule from his fellow soldiers but ultimately won their admiration by demonstrating great courage under enemy fire and saving many lives as a combat medic. Doss was awarded the Medal of Honour by President Harry S Truman for rescuing 75 soldiers on Hacksaw Ridge. Desmond Doss passed away on March 23, 2006, at the age of 87.

Prayer: Lord we thank you that men of great courage have been raised up at times of adversity to support their fellow man and uphold the teachings of Jesus, but foremost, we remember with a grateful heart the enormous courage that it took Your Son to go to the Roman cross for us.

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