Beyond our Imagination
I think it's time for me to explain more of Darlene Deibler Rose's story to you.
Darlene and her husband were Christian & Missionary Alliance missionaries to Dutch New Guinea, one of the island in the Indonesian Sea. They began serving there in 1938, living with natives in their villages, sharing the truth of the gospel.
Dutch New Guinea
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Ten days later, they invaded the island of Borneo. By February 1942, they came to Dutch New Guinea. Darlene and her husband, Russell, were captured and put to work in separate internment camps. Russell died in captivity. They had been married less than 3 years.
Darlene continued her missionary work with the people in her internment camp. She was allowed to keep her Bible and lead Bible studies in her barrack. She learned to be content with the new ministry God gave her. She earned the trust of the Director of the camp, a man she despised yet learned to pray for. Despite horrible conditions, she did not give up hope of being released and returning home.
At one point, she was placed in solitary confinement. Even her good status with the Director could not keep her out of a place as inhumane as you can imagine. She suffered intense illness, starvation, deprivation, and to top it off, no Bible. She learned to endure these circumstances by relying on the peace of God's presence with her in that jail cell. She would enter the sanctuary of her heart to pray and praise Him. His presence comforted her soul. (*Note: this is where she faced her Wall. But I'm not going to spoil that beautiful story for you.)
There was a small window she could look out of if she climbed in just the right way. One day, she looked through the window and saw a man carrying bananas. She was so hungry! She prayed, "Lord, just one banana, please." Even while she prayed, she acknowledge the impossibility of that request. But, God did a miracle. Through amazing circumstance that you will have to read yourself, he gave her not one banana, but 99! Darlene never imagined more than 1. Her imagination was limited to just one banana and even that seemed impossible. But God.
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!"
Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)
Next week, I go back into surgery. They have told me to expect a long day. A very LONG day on the table. They have several things they'd like to accomplish. So many, that it is not likely they will finish in one day. I will probably need to return again soon.
The longer the surgery, the harder the recovery. While they are rummaging around in my lungs, attending to bleeding vessels and incorrect blood flow, I will be laying on a cold metal table, completely still. Thankfully, I will also be unconscious. But being in one position for 8-10 hours always has consequences. In the past, it has resulted in long-term numbness in my feet, difficulty walking, and serious energy drain. By grace, these have all been temporary, resolving with time and rest.
It is all too clear that my imagination is limited. Like Darlene, I can ask, "Lord, please make this my last surgery. Just one, please." But, also like Darlene, I cannot imagine what God can do.
I am reading Remarkable Hope by Shauna Letellier this week. Shauna writes lovely vignettes of Biblical people who at first were disappointed with Jesus only to be surprised by the hope that comes with walking with him. She describes Jairus, the Father of a Dying Daughter (Mark 5), as a man who had faith in Jesus to heal his daughter but was disappointed when Jesus didn't hurry fast enough to arrive before her death. Jesus told him, "Don't fear. Just believe." Instead of healing the girl, Jesus brought her back to life.
Jairus had faith in Jesus to heal his daughter but he couldn't imagine Jesus had the power to raise her from death.
Darlene had faith in Jesus to miraculously deliver one banana, but couldn't imagine Jesus had the power to deliver enough bananas to last until her final day in confinement.
I have faith in Jesus to keep me alive in this upcoming surgery, but I don't have the faith in Jesus to ... To what? I don't know. We will have to wait and see what He will do.
"Abraham hoped because God had promised. Jairus hoped because Jesus told him to keep at it, and we hope because we serve the same Lord, who does not change."
Shauna Letellier Remarkable Hope
Will you hope with me? Let's put our hope in the same Lord who can and does more than we can ask or imagine.
Friends, I received a surprising number of responses to last week's post (The Wall). Clearly, you all are facing your own Walls and finding strength in Jesus to walk through them. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it if you would click that little "comment" button below and share your answer to this: What are you hoping for today?
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