DayBreaks for 11/28/17: I Have Returned Alive
From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:
Shoichi Yokoi was a soldier, conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1941 and sent to Guam shortly thereafter. In 1944, as American forces reconquered the island, Yokoi went into hiding.
On January 24, 1972, Yokoi was discovered in a remote section of Guam by two of the island’s inhabitants. For 28 years he had been hiding in an underground jungle cave, fearing to come out of hiding even after finding leaflets declaring that World War II had ended. “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive,” he said upon his return to Japan, carrying his rusted rifle at his side.
There is no question that the Japanese soldiers during WW2 were incredibly loyal and committed to their cause. Much of the fiercest fighting of the war took place in the Pacific theater. One of the things that the Japanese had drilled into them through their culture for centuries is that you never surrender. To surrender was the greatest possible insult and shame that a soldier could face. If you were a Japanese soldier, there were only 2 ways that you could return home honorably: either as a victor at the war’s end or as a corpse. Hence, Mr. Yokio’s comment: “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive.” The poor man had stayed at his post, alone and in hiding on Guam, for nearly 30 years.
Many thoughts run through my mind as I read this story:
I’m impressed with such dedication to a cause, such loyalty. It makes me wonder about my commitment to the cause of the cross.
I’m intrigued by the mindset that coming home alive is a shame. Then, I stop to think about our Lord’s instructions that we must lose our lives if we hope to find life. We must die to who we are in our sinful human natures. And to come home, to stand before God’s judgment bar in heaven without having fully died, would be a great shame. I think that I must redouble my prayers and efforts to “put to death” the old man so that a new One can live inside of me.
In spite of the shame of not truly dying to myself as I should in this life, Jesus will see to it that I do come home alive. And when I do, it will be to a welcome, not to shame.
PRAYER: Help me to die, Lord, that I may live. And let that life be in the glory of Your Presence, that we may not be ashamed! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.