Thursday, March 10, 2016

It Is Finished!

An interesting story on Facebook caught my eye this morning. World War II had been over for 29 years when a Japanese lieutenant named Hiroo Onoda surrendered to Allied Forces in the Philippines on March 9, 1974.

As the war neared its end, Onoda and three other soldiers became cut off on Lubang Island in the Philippines when US troops worked their way north. The young intelligence officer had been ordered to conduct guerrilla warfare and not to surrender.

After the Japanese surrendered to Allied Forces, leaflets, including letters from family members, telling them that the war was over and encouraging them to surrender were dropped from planes, but the men determined they were bogus. They continued to engage in sporadic clashes with local residents.

One of the men deserted in 1949 and surrendered in 1950. A second man was killed in a shootout with a search party in 1954. The third was killed during guerrilla raid in 1972. Mr. Onoda ignored all attempts to get him to surrender.

In 1974, a Japanese tourist met up with Onoda in the jungle and tried to convince him that the war was over. He refused to surrender unless his commanding officer ordered him to do so.

Finally, in 1974 the Japanese government located Onoda's former commanding officer, Major Yoshima Taniguchi, and flew him to Lubang. On March 9, 1974, he met with Onoda and rescinded his original orders in person.

Onoda in 1944 and in 1974
Only then did Mr. Onoda salute the Japanese flag and hand over his Samurai sword, his still functioning rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition, several hand grenades, and the dagger his mother had given him to kill himself if he was captured. He still wore his tattered army uniform.

Although many in Lubang never forgave him for the thirty people he killed during his campaign on the island, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos pardoned him for his crimes. Onoda died in 2014 at the age of eighty-two.

"I had been ordered not to surrender. If I could not carry out my orders, I would feel shame," he said in an interview in 2010.

This story reminds me of a song penned by Bill and Gloria Gaither that I used to sing in church: "It Is Finished." It describes how Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross of Calvary and the war has been won once and for all time.


The song goes on to say that in many hearts the battle is still raging on battlefields of our own making. Not all prisoners of war have come home.

Not until we surrender our all to Jesus is the war over. Oh, what blessed peace when we finally stop fighting against Him and surrender!

What battle are you still fighting? As we near Holy Week and think about the Cross, let's examine our lives and ask ourselves what we need to lay at the foot of the Cross.

No comments:

Post a Comment