A young traveler named Norio Suzuki went to the Philippines in 1974, looking for Onoda. When they met, Suzuki informed Onoda that the war had ended decades before and it was time to go home. The old soldier refused. He had been given orders and planned on following those orders.
Finally, the Japanese government located Onoda's superior, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, and flew him to the jungle to issue new orders: surrender. Only then would this faithful soldier give himself up.
The Greek word that is translated "faith" can also be translated "faithfulness." The story of Hiroo Onoda reminds us of what faithfulness looks like; it reminds us of what faith should look like as well.
Faith isn't intellectual assent. It isn't the acceptance of the truth of certain ideas. Faith involves devotion, loyalty, and obedience. A man who has faith in God plans to do whatever God asks of him.
Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it" (Mark 8:34-35).
Faith is total surrender to God's will. It's the willingness to let God do whatever he wants with us. Faith makes God's commands the top priority in our lives.
Even if we think Hiroo Onoda's unwavering loyalty misguided, we have to admire his commitment. He was a faithful soldier: faithful to his country, faithful to his emperor, faithful in fulfilling his duty.