...like those who have no hope. (1 Thes. 4:13)
This was a key line in an incredible book I've just read. It cracked open the door of my soul a bit wider than ever before, and stretched me in a new way.
In 2002, I was fascinated by a story on a radio program as I drove a short distance to a meeting. It was the voice of a missionary sharing her extraordinary experiences in a prison camp. Though her Bible had been taken away, she recalled scripture learned as a young girl and sang hymns to keep her sanity. In her heart she knew God was saying, "My grace is sufficient." Her faith was incredibly strong under horrible circumstances. God answered her prayers with such abundance.
The fragment of her story that I heard has truly inspired me these past eight years. To my delight, a few weeks ago I was finally able to identify the author and the book: Darlene Deibler Rose and Evidence Not Seen.
The rest of her story was equally gripping and I devoured it in less than a week. The book chronicles about eight years, from a young married woman excited about starting their mission work (the first white woman to enter the interior of New Guinea), to a young widow returning to the states in borrowed clothes, weathered by the experiences of the last four years in captivity in a WWII Japanese prison camp. Death was all around her, yet she didn't lose hope. She lost basically everything, yet she gained so much more. Her faith and courage shone more brightly than ever before -- a model and an inspiration for so many. What grace and love she showered into the lives around her.
I wept as I eagerly turned the pages. I thanked God for this dear young woman and all she endured. If she never would have written this book, her miraculous story would have died with her. For me, it is a glimpse of truly abiding in the goodness and grace of our Lord through any circumstance. No one would ever wish for that suffering, yet what a sweet walk with her Savior she found!
"Would you go anywhere with me, no matter what the cost?" was the call on her life she had answered as a young girl.
"I have no regrets," Darlene said. "It was a way to know God in a deeper way. He was always there."
See the Darlene Deibler Rose Web site (watch the short video), or see the 77-minute video on You Tube, recorded in her later years.
Loving Father, let us remember that You walk with us through every trial, giving us the strength we need, if we keep our eyes on You. We don't mourn or suffer like those who have no hope. You are our Hope in every situation.