«So then each of us shall give account of himself to God» (Romans 14:12).
EVERY PERSON is called to give account before the great Auditor according to the opportunities received and taken advantage of. It is true that it is possible to influence or be influenced, but decisions and accountability are personal matters.
Desmond Doss (1919-2006) was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor and one of only three with such a distinction. Doss entered military service on April 1, 1942, in Lee, Virginia (USA). He refused to kill an enemy soldier or bear arms because of his Adventist faith, although he was willing to serve in other ways. This earned him the mockery of his peers and the punishment of his superiors.
Doss served with his platoon in 1944 in Guam and in the Philippines. In May 1945, in the Allied amphibious assault, a battalion of marines was sent to take a position on the Maeda Escarpment, which was about 350 feet high. After climbing that rocky wall, they were greeted by intense enemy fire. Doss saw his comrades fall, and instead of taking refuge, he managed to pull seventy-five wounded marines from that deadly death trap by dragging or carrying them one by one, and then taking them to the edge of the cliff, from which he lowered them with ropes. He continued to care for the wounded for several days, brushing off the danger that surrounded him until he was hit in the leg by a grenade.
As he was about to be evacuated on a stretcher, Doss saw another wounded soldier and gave him his place. Then he was shot in the arm. Unable to stand, and without anyone who could help him, he took a rifle to splint his arm and crawled to the field hospital. Doss became a symbol of courage and determination even for his mockers.
In 1946, he contracted tuberculosis and lost a lung and five ribs. He became deaf in 1976 because of an overdose of antibiotics and was considered to have a one hundred-percent disability. He regained his hearing after receiving an implant in 1988. Doss began a family in 1942, but he was widowed sometime later. He then formed a new family and died at the age of eighty-seven at his home in Alabama.
Ellen G. White stated that «it requires many soldiers to form the rank and file of the army; yet its success depends upon the fidelity of every soldier (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 518).
Neither the hostile and adverse environment, nor his physical limitations were obstacles for Doss to live his faith with courage and faithfulness because each one has to—and will—give a personal account before the Lord.
There is no medal of honor for you or me, but there is a crown of eternal life waiting for each one of us.