On September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the document known as the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese government. With the stroke of a pen, World War II was, effectively, brought to an end.
The final days of World War II had been devastating to the Japanese people. In the bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, ninety percent of the city was destroyed, with an estimated 80,000 people killed instantly. And then, following the bombing of Nagasaki three days later, Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s unconditional surrender on Aug. 15, 1945. It marked the end of hostilities, but for America, the battle was far from over.
For the next seven years, without obligation but with a sense of humanitarian concern, the United States “invaded” Japan, not with bombs and guns, but with a helping hand. Under the direction of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, sweeping social reforms were implemented and the Japanese constitution was substantially rewritten. Despite suffering devastating casualties at each other’s hands, Japan and the United States were able to forge strong diplomatic and economic ties that stand to this day.
Despite hostilities that dated back to the devastation at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, America became the prime mover toward rebuilding and restoring the Japanese people to the place of prominence they occupy in our society today. Without the oversight of the Allied powers, they would have never have developed the democratic self-government, economic stability, and peaceful co-existence that is their strength today.
For many of us, World War II is an apt picture of our relationship with Jesus Christ. From our earliest days, we have been at war with God, demanding our own way and living as we please. Created with a free will, we have often chosen to do, not what we knew to be right, but that which was convenient.
We soon discovered, however, that life apart from God is no walk in the park. Sin is a terrible taskmaster. We resist surrender to the divine will, certain we are going to be in the hands of a tyrant. But to the contrary, when we finally “sue for peace,” when we sign our own “Instrument of Surrender,” we find that living for God turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to us.
The Apostle Paul put it this way. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” God doesn’t just forgive; He reconstructs. Debilitating drives, devastating habits, and a self-centered life-style are slowly replaced with a new set of values and new interests. Becoming a Christian is more than a change of belief; it heralds a change of character. Fundamental restructuring takes place. In the words of the New Testament, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.”
It is difficult for those who have not invited Jesus Christ to be the Lord of their lives to believe what I am writing is little more than hype. But this is more than just another slick promotion; it reflects what happens in the life of every believer. Almost without exception, every Christian will tell you that knowing Jesus Christ has given us a quality of life we could have found in no other way.
For more thoughts like these, follow me at indefenseoftruth.net.