General Jonathan Wainwright was the only U.S. general captured by the enemy during World War II. He was left in charge of Corregidor, Philippines, by his superior, General Douglas MacArthur, when he was forced to flee to Australia to organize the Allied forces’ massive counterpunch that eventually defeated Japan. MacArthur’s orders to Wainwright were very clear: Never surrender. Fight to the end.
Wainwright tried very hard to stick to the letter of that order. However, the massive, systematic, merciless destruction he saw around him finally forced him—against his convictions— to surrender. He, and what was left of his ragtag army, were shipped off to prisoners-of-war (POW) camps all over Asia. Thousands died while in transit. Wainwright himself ended up in a POW camp in Mongolia. The Japanese guarded him as a precious prize. After all, he was the only U.S. general they would ever capture. During those terrible years of captivity, Wainwright labored under tremendous guilt. As he saw his body deteriorate and came to depend on a cane to move around, he also saw his soul experience even greater deterioration. He felt like a total failure for having surrendered Corregidor. In due time, Douglas MacArthur led his troops to total victory. The Rising Sun became the Setting Sun as MacArthur and his troops evicted the Japanese from island after island all over the Pacific. He eventually occupied Japan and took up residence in Tokyo. The once-formidable Japanese empire finally surrendered to the “fugitive from Corregidor.” When this happened, POW camps were liberated all over Asia. Because Wainwright was held in Mongolia, far away from Tokyo, his camp commandant was able to keep the truth from him for a while. Consequently, Wainwright continued to behave like a POW. Can you picture the Japanese commandant watching Wainwright after Japan’s surrender? He knew they would soon switch places, and the commandant must have trembled at the possibility of facing a captive who would become his captor. Every time he saw him, the Japanese commandant must have felt tremendous uneasiness. A fully armed, properly fed commandant, with more than adequate military force at his disposal, was afraid of the weak, emaciated, dysentery-plagued remains of a ragtag army and its limping general. Why? Because the commandant’s power over them was based on a lie. I can picture him wondering, Has he found out the truth yet? If he has, what will happen to me? The only thing that enabled the Japanese commandant to keep up this fraud was Wainwright’s ignorance of the truth. Wainwright had been liberated, but he did not know it. Neither was he aware that, like every allied POW all over Asia, he had been ordered by his commander in chief to take charge of the camp. Because Wainwright did not know the truth, he continued to submit to the commands of his captor, even though his captor no longer had power over him. Eventually, an allied airplane landed near the POW camp where General Wainwright was imprisoned. An American officer walked up to the fence, saluted and announced: “General, Japan has surrendered.” Armed with that piece of truth, Wainwright limped all the way to the commandant’s office. He opened the door and, without even raising his voice, asserted, “My commander in chief has defeated your commander in chief. I am in control now. You must surrender.” Without firing a single shot, the emaciated, physically handicapped POW took over the camp from the well-fed, heavily armed commandant. How was he able to do it? Because the truth had set him free. He also knew how to use authority to control power. The Japanese commandant’s fear had finally materialized. His captives found out that they were mightier and decided to leave the land of captivity.
Satan’s greatest fear today is that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ will realize that it is mightier than him! He is literally scared that every believer will fully understand the practical implications of the biblical truth that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). He’s afraid the Church will discover a war is going on and will join it. His prisoners will leave the dungeons as they hear of their spiritual emancipation. His strongholds over our cities will be rapidly overtaken as angels are sent to assist a praying Church (see Heb. 1:14). To this end, the Church must learn how to pray with authority. Not as begging for crumbs from a cunning POW commandant but rather as an advancing army that knows it’s destined for victory. To do this effectively, the Church must understand and learn to use the authority delegated to it as it prays for all people. The normal state of affairs between the Church and Satan is war, all-out war. Praying with authority entails stating the truth (see Matt. 4:4,7,10; Eph. 6:17), demanding that the usurper leave (see Matt. 4:10; Jas. 4:7) and radioing for help to evict him (see Rom. 15:30; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:12), if necessary. Angels will quickly oblige (see Acts 27:22ff). Angels are itching to be dispatched by God, not so much to comfort POW prisoners in Satan’s camp, but to aid them as they fulfill the Great Commission all over the world (see Acts 12:5; Heb. 1:14).
Perhaps you feel as Wainwright did because of a past failure. Maybe you are still living in a POW camp. The enemy has lied to you and has deprived you of everything. Maybe you have lost your command; you have surrendered. Since then you have been punishing yourself. You have been living in a cloud of hopelessness. I encourage you to look up to your Supreme Commander, Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. He is saying to you, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Even when you are
unfaithful, I remain faithful. I cannot deny myself. You may have surrendered a flag or two, but the war has been won. Be of good courage” (see Heb. 13:5-6). On that final day, when Satan will be forced to acknowledge the facts as described in Revelation 12:11 as final proof of his total defeat, you are going to stand next to your Commander. You will be part of His triumphal parade. Until then, pick yourself up and
charge against the strongholds of the enemy. Serve eviction notices and radio for help. Tell the enemy that “my Commander in Chief has defeated your commander in chief.” You are in charge now. Go and begin to set the captives free!*
*Excerpt from That None Should Perish, pages 177-179, 181-183, 197-198, 200-201.