Andrew Garfield stars in a scene from the movie "Hacksaw Ridge." CNS photo/Cross Creek Pictures

'Hacksaw Ridge' is a model of faith

By  Alessia Loduca, Youth Speak News
  • November 10, 2016

When presented with barrages of violent and destructive images, sometimes the only place to look is away. To say that it is a challenge to witness these horrors is an understatement, but to go beyond that and work against these horrors is what makes heroes.

By now, you may have heard of Hacksaw Ridge, the movie based on the true story of Desmond Doss, an unconventional World War II hero who saved 75 men from death without wielding a single weapon. Instead, Doss carried his Bible and called on God for guidance and assistance.

Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Andrew Garfield as Doss, the film presents the story of a man caught between two roles: a Christian living by God’s will and a soldier representing his country. As I sat in my seat and watched the horrors of war unfold on the screen, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Where is God in all this?”

It is easy to believe in God when everything is going right, but much harder to do so when hardships surround you. Doss, like many of us, felt lost at one point, as if God’s voice was no longer loud enough for him to hear in the midst of the war. Rather than give up, he asked God for guidance and the strength to persevere.

I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself in Doss’s position. Although the context is very different, I too have felt alone and confused. I overcame this by asking God to point me in the right direction. I never make a big decision without first saying a quick prayer.

I volunteer with elementary and high school students. I can see the worry written on their faces when they think about applying to secondary and post-secondary schools. As someone who has been in their position, I remind them that they do not need to make this decision alone. I tell them to talk to their loved ones and pray to God for guidance.

Unlike picking which school to attend next fall, the decisions Doss needed to make were life and death. The movie offers a lot more than just one man’s experience in WWII. Turn on the news for a few minutes to see what I mean. We often have the urge to change the channel or scroll past a story that seems too depressing or uncomfortable. I know I’m guilty of this, often believing that ignorance is bliss. But this solves nothing.

How do we shine God’s light on those whose daily realities abound in terror? The first step is prayer. Before he did anything else, Doss consulted his Bible and asked God for direction. We need to trust that God is with us and with those who suffer.

Hacksaw Ridge is sad, sometimes unbearably so, and at times surprisingly really funny. This movie is for those of us who could use a little push in our lives and need to be reminded that all is not hopeless.

(Loduca, 19, is a third-year education student with a major/minor in English and French at York University in Toronto.)

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