“So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” Psalm 31:24 (NLT)
A Japanese soldier who refused to surrender after WW2 ended and spent thirty years hidden in the jungle, died on the 16th January 2014 aged 91. Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, an intelligence officer in the Imperial Army, remained on Lubang Island in the Philippines until March 1974, his 52nd birthday; because he didn’t believe that the war was over. And even then, he would only surrender after receiving an order to stand down from his wartime commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi.
No surrender, patient endurance, hanging on when everything within him was probably screaming, “Give up, you’ve done enough, just let go!” His dedication to the orders he received when he was 22 years old is indeed incredible and I believe inspiring.
One of the purposes of scripture is to promote steadfastness, endurance and hope—whatever life throws at us along the way. Encouraging us to stand up in the storm, to face adversity in the strength and hope that God gives us through his Spirit. “For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope” (Romans 15:4 AMP). Or, as someone once observed, “The usefulness of a postage stamp is its ability to stick to one thing until it is finished!” Paul tells the Colossians, “We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (Colossians 1:11).
I guess that the bottom line in all this is that we as Christians need to persevere, and stand our ground with the kind of endurance that clings tenaciously and expectantly to the invisible God, as Moses did. Hebrews 11:27 tells us, “It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt. He was not afraid of the king. Moses kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.”
Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda refused to give up and clung tenaciously to the orders of his commanding officer until he came to rescind them. I realise that these thoughts might sound very military and they are, that’s why Paul encourages Timothy to “Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ’s army” (2 Timothy 2:3 NIV). No surrender!
Father, please grant us the strength to stand up in the storms of life and gain the victory, as we cling tenaciously to your beloved Son, Jesus, Who endured hardship for us and gave himself that we might live.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way Farley Hill
Local Congregational Contact: