San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1988
From time to time I like to read true stories that genuinely challenge my faith. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book as powerful as EVIDENCE NOT SEEN: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II. The author, Darlene Deibler Rose, was in her early twenties when she and her husband Russell went as missionaries to the South Pacific. What this young woman endured, and the strength God gave her as a POW during WWII is more than I can imagine! Could I do what she did? No, not in my strength. However, if the Lord called me, I’m confident He would give me the grace, for He is the One “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Rather than writing any more about this 222 page book that holds your attention to the very last page, let me simply share with you a great summary I found online by a reviewer named of Annie Kate. She wrote it on August 2nd, 2011.
Darlene, a young missionary wife, was among the first white women to enter New Guinea’s interior. However, after Pearl Harbor she and her husband Russell were forced to leave their beloved Kapauku people. It wasn’t long before the Japanese invaded and took Russell away.
Darlene and other missionary women, left behind, faced rats, bandits and daily threats from the Japanese, learning about faith and trust from an old missionary leader. It wasn’t until the Japanese confined them to a prison camp in the jungle that life became almost impossible, but still God was with them. He even provided moments of humor, such as when the teens in Darlene’s barracks hinted to the entire camp that their beautiful young barracks leader was a wealthy movie star. He also provided opportunities to witness. “Maybe,” Darlene told the prison camp commander, “God brought me to this place and this time to tell you that he loves you.”
When she was accused of espionage, Darlene was taken away by the dreaded secret police, the Kempeitai. Throughout the months on death row, when she was repeatedly and cruelly interrogated, all the Bible memorization that she had done filled her mind with God’s Word. Rather than dwelling on the horrors, she dwelt on God’s surprising goodness and comfort. And when she could no longer sense his presence, she recalled that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. She learned that her trust was to be in the unchanging person of Jesus Christ, not in her own feelings.
In time the Lord saved her from death row and much more. When the war ended Darlene returned to the United States, changed forever but still thanking God “for every storm that has wrecked me upon the Rock, Christ Jesus.” The rest of her life was devoted to telling people about this great Savior.
Darlene Deibler Rose wrote primarily for her two sons. “I wished them to know, if ever difficult circumstances came into their lives, that their mother’s God is still alive and very well, and His arm has never lost its ancient power!”
Many people, including Ruth Bell Graham and Kay Arthur, testify that their faith was challenged and strengthened by Evidence Not Seen. So was mine. I highly recommend this book.
Note: Due to its intensity and subject matter, this book is suitable for older teens and adults. However, it does not dwell on cruelty and horror, but on God’s goodness. Rather than filling me with despair, it drew me closer to God.
More information about Darlene, who died in 2004, and her continuing ministry is available on the Darlene Rose website.