Hiroo Onada was an imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer who fought in World War II. He was assigned to serve on a island in the Philippians.  General MacArthur and the U.S. troops were supporting the Filipino army and supplying resources. Hiroo and his men were stationed on that island to take the Philippines for Japan. Hiroo was instructed by his superior officer not to surrender. If the enemy overtook them, he was to take his own life. Despite Hiroo and his soldiers fighting hard the Filipino and U.S. troops succeeded in securing the island on February 28th, 1945. All of the Japanese soldiers were either killed or captured. All except Hiroo and three of his men who fled to the jungle to hide. These four men had no way to attack an army so they adapted to the tactics of guerrilla warfare in pursuit of their mission. Over the course of several years, the men found pamphlets stating the war was over. Even airplanes flew over with banners attached saying the war was over. However, Hiroo and his men thought this was a trick in order to get them to surrender. Hiroo and his men ignored these messages of the war being over and continued to hide and would not give up.  For decades, Hiroo and his small band of men fought the locals and police on this island. All of these men eventually died with the exception of Hiroo.  A Japanese student by the name of Norio Suzuki had read about all the stories of Hiroo and in 1972 he set out to find him. Norio Suzuki eventually found Hiroo but despite his best efforts could not convince him that the war was over. Suzuki then returned to Japan to find Hiroo’s commanding officer whose name was Major Yoshimi Taniguchi. Major Taniguchi had since left the military and was now a civilian. Upon hearing about Hiroo, Major Taniguchi flew to the island and located him. He told Hiroo that the war had been over since 1945. On March 9th of 1972, Hiroo handed over his sword and rifle. Twenty seven years after the battle was over, Hiroo finally surrendered.  Hiroo’s story reminded me of Paul and how God tirelessly pursued him. Despite God’s efforts Paul (Saul) would not surrender. Acts 26:14 says “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Is it hard to kick against the goads?”A goad was long sharpened stick with a sharpened piece of iron on its tip used to prod the oxen when plowing. To kick against the sharpened piece of iron would be painful. Paul literally saw the “light” at that moment and surrendered it all to God!  How long will you kick against the goads? How long will you hide in the jungle like Hiroo? To run from God’s endless pursuit is futile. Can’t you see fighting God for control only creates more problems? Can’t you see the battle is already won by God? What do you need to surrender to give your life fully to God? What relationship or idol or foolish pursuit needs to be surrendered? Let me close with Proverbs 8:35 which says “For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.” I am personally so grateful that in the summer of 1986 I quit fighting God and let Him have it all. How about you?

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