Recently, for the third time in the last six months I listened to the story of Darlene Deibler Rose. This is one of the true stories, that you wish you could reach through pages and time and give them a hug. Darlene, feels like one of those Kindred Spirits, a big sister in Christ, whose feet I could sit at and learn from all day long.
There is a special kinship as I dive into these pages that strikes a deep cord within.
Part of it I believe is we come from similar regions, she mentions a city twenty minutes from where I live in her book, and I can see the Midwest mindset in the way she thinks and even talks sometimes. The same rapt wonder that she expresses as she arrives in a tropical climate, is the same I felt arriving in a subtropical Taiwan. Some of the sights and smells she relates…and I am a moment later in her shoes, smelling the same strange market places and sweet wonder of night blooming jasmine. I relate to the intense heat of the day with no air conditioning, and loving a people whose language I am learning…
While I have not stood on the soil of New Guinea, I have stood on soil occupied by the Japanese forces during WWII and seen the aftermath, many, many years later. I have walked through the bomb shelters, and the structures they left behind when they lost the war. In some places they have become beautified as a tourist attraction, the sharp agony of occupation softening the scar with balm of time and forgotten by those did not feel it’s crushing heel. But still in others—it has left an angry wound, flared and festered with the feeling of being forgotten…
Living in the aftermath of this story—and so many others, having sipped from the cups of history through reading, but this is a story that can earthquake the soul.
This is one of those books I wish I had read earlier in life…especially before going to the mission field, but I passed up on reading the book for many years because my mom owned the VHS tapes of Darlene, as an enchanting, lovable, antiquated lady, giving her testimony seated in a chair against a dark blue background, the light casting a halo on her golden white hair; that was cut just like my Grandma. Many times I sat in rapt wonder watching the story of Darlene with my Mama….but somehow as she related her story, I missed something. Perhaps it was because I was young when we had the VHS 📼, and I myself had not felt the fires of life, nor drank from that bitter-sweet well of suffering, that I missed the beauty and golden treasures hidden in this book.
When it comes to trying to describe this book, words seem paltry and small, there is so much power delivered by Darlene’s pen as she walks us through the fires of her affliction, holding onto nothing but the hand of God. Her faith is eloquent in it’s simplicity, she bears her cross as she saw our Master bear His. She goes through a vast wilderness that would crush most into dust and ashes, as a light, shining into the monstrous darkness that claims to have her in it’s teeth. She held fast and did not waver, looking only, ever at the Savior. She was a good solider, who did not melt at persecution, did not give way in all the confusion. Her soul was not made of sweet sticky chocolate Christianity that melts at the moment heat is introduced to its life. Her soul, she was willing to let it be refined in the fire as gold, tried over and over and over again, until it reflected but one thing.