Fighting the Wrong Battle?

Hiroo Onada c. 1944

Did you ever hear the story of the Japanese soldier, who continued fighting World War 2 until 1974? It’s a true story and his name is Hiroo Onada. He was an intelligence officer who was assigned to Lubang Island in the Philippines with the orders to do all he could to hamper Allied attacks on the island. His instructions were specific that under no circumstances was he to surrender! When the Allies overtook the island, unlike most of the rest who did surrender, he took to the hills with three others in his command.

They continued to carry out occasional raids on the Philippine police as they had opportunity. A number of times they came upon leaflets telling them that the war had ended, but they dismissed them as Allied propaganda, so they continued on. Over the years one walked away from the rest and surrendered, and two were killed in gunfire. Only Onada was left, but he continued on for quite awhile.

Onoda (second left) walking from the jungle where he had hidden since World War 2.

It wasn’t until 1974, that another Japanese man went looking for him and found him. The two became friends, but still Onada would not surrender. He would only do so if his commanding officer ordered him. Through his friend the Japanese government found that commanding officer, who met Onada and handed him his orders to cease fighting and surrender.

Have we as the church fallen out of communication with our commander, that like Onada we are fighting for things that don’t matter? Though there is a war with Satan (Eph. 6:10-12), have the battle lines shifted so we are shooting civilians way behind the front? Do we throw spiritual bombs at Catholics? Are we still targeting the fundamentalist-modernist controversy with the liberal denominations? Are we up in arms, when a young woman is dressed immodestly? These are still important issues that need to be addressed. However the biggest battle that we need to concentrate on is the secular wars; they’re slowly eating away at not only our moral base, but also our freedom to practice our faith. Some are called to fight the war in the public arena, but where the everyday person in the church needs to battle is for individuals to come to know the Lord. So we should reach out to people around us, love and care for them, and share the good news of the gospel with them. Like in any war the one with the most territory wins. The embattled territory is people’s lives!

Some are hidden away like Onada, but all it takes is for someone to go look for him and become his friend, and get in touch with the commanding officer for him, so he can surrender to Him.

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