Lessons from Onoda


The picture above is that of Hiroo Onoda. He made global headlines last week when he died at the age of 91. His story’s an amazing one.

At the height of World War 2, he was sent as a commando in Lubang, near Mindoro. His orders from the Japanese Imperial Army were simple: repel enemy attacks and never surrender. As a young soldier, he took that marching order and stood his ground in the island during the war.

The following year, Japan fell into the Allied Forces and later surrendered. A lot of Japanese soldiers, aware of what has transpired surrendered to the Americans and Filipinos and went back to Japan. But not Onoda. Unaware of Japan’s defeat, Onoda remained in Lubang and carried out his military duties until he finally came out in 1974. That’s 30 years after the war!

While the rest of the world was recovering from the war, Hiroo Onoda stood on the ground he pledged to carry out his duties on. When he came out of hiding in the 70s, he was on his thirty year old tattered military uniform and rifle.

Reading his story made me reflect on two things:

First, it reminded me of Ephesians 6 which talks about the Armor of God. It tells us to put on the full armor of God. ¬†Not to put on the full armor would make whatever you have a fool’s armor. I wonder if Onoda would have survived thirty years without his military armor. In the same way, we need the entire armor of God to repel and stand our ground in this rather hostile battlefield that we are in. If Onoda’s marching orders were clear through the years, the joy of our salvation would can never be taken from us when we protect ourselves with the full armor of God. Meditate and study Ephesians 6.

Secondly, when everything’s been said and done, I’d love to hear these words from God: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Nothing can be sweeter than knowing that God is pleased with you.

Hiroo Onoda on his uniform in 1974
Hiroo Onoda receives pardon from Pres. Marcos

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