I love movies, primarily movies that make me want to stand up and cheer. I’m especially moved by those based on real life people who rise above great trials. Here are some of the movies I’ve collected and still enjoy:
Remember the Titans
When the Game Stands Tall
The Tuskegee Airmen
Hidden Figures (on pre-order)
The latest addition is Hacksaw Ridge. The movie is a hard-R, and I knew it would be “more violent than Saving Private Ryan”, and thus, very difficult for me to watch. Hacksaw Ridge shows the violence, blood-lust, screaming carnage and horror of combat. My father was a medic during the third wave into Normandy. This movie gave me an insight into what he went through. I didn’t shy away because I wanted to see the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who was mocked, despised, beaten, and considered a coward until the men with whom he served found out the depth of his faith in Christ, his determination to serve his country without taking a human life, and what God can do with one man who believes.
With remote in hand, and thumb on fast forward, I have watched the end of the movie half a dozen times, and every time, it moves me to tears. Why? Because I think of Jesus, sent by God into enemy territory. Satan is filled with blood lust to kill and destroy each of us. Jesus, hated and persecuted, obeyed His Father’s battle plan to save lives. Jesus finds the wounded who cry out to him and lifts them from the battlefield of life. He heals them and brings them safely home. When Desmond (played by Andrew Garfield) looks into the camera and prays, “I don’t hear You. I don’t know what You want me to do…” I think of Jesus in the Garden. “Take this cup from Me, not My will, but Yours be done.” When the wounded man cries out for help, the medic rises and goes into the firestorm, searching for and saving the very ones who persecuted him and wanted him gone. They didn’t know he stayed so he could save their lives.
There is another powerful scene of Doss standing head upraised as water is poured over him. The water is the color of earth and blood, a revelation of the trial he has just been through. That makes me think of Jesus, covered in the filth of all our sins so that we can be washed clean by the blood of the Lamb of God. Even as Doss stands in the hospital tent, his concern is searching for the one missing man. Like Jesus, our shepherd, with ninety-nine in the fold, going out to find the one lost lamb.
Scripture says, “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Desmond Doss, a thin, young man, prayed. “Lord, help me save one more.” God answered and gave him the physical, mental and emotional stamina to save seventy-five. And then later, unarmed and back in the midst of the battle, he saved more.
In my opinion, it is no accident that God called Mel Gibson, an imperfect man of faith, to direct this movie. I’m thankful Mister Gibson had the courage to step out in faith and offer the public Hacksaw Ridge. May God receive all the glory.