5 Lessons from the Life of Darlene Deibler (Part One)


As a little girl of ten, Darlene prayed, “Lord, I’d go anywhere for you, no matter what it cost!”

   Little did she know just how much it would cost. 

   As a young newlywed, Darlene and her husband, Russell Deibler, set out as missionaries to Indonesia and New Guinea. Darlene worked hard to learn the language and join Russell in his work of sharing the gospel. They were able to reach isolated natives of New Guinea with the message of Jesus and were overjoyed to see fruits from their labors. 

   Then war came. It was early 1942 and the Japanese took over Indonesia, also known as the Dutch East Indies. Russell was taken prisoner and later Darlene was imprisoned–separate from her husband. Darlene was taken to a prison camp for women–and children, too–where she endured great misery but was never forsaken. 

   Here are the first three of five lessons we can learn from her life: 

  1.    God’s grace sustains in even the darkest of places.

      Darlene endured sickness, cruelty, filth, and great sorrow as a prisoner of war. Worst of all was the news that her husband had died in the men’s prison camp. At one point she was transferred from the camp to a tiny prison cell, accused of being a spy, and sentenced to death.

      There was a time when she could not feel God’s Presence at all. At first, she panicked, worried that some unconfessed sin was keeping her from feeling Him near. She prayed for the Holy Spirit to search her heart and could think of nothing she hadn’t confessed to the Lord. So why couldn’t she feel His comforting Presence? She began to repeat Scriptures to herself:
    “God is not a man, that He should lie,
    Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
    Has He said, and will He not do?
    Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).

      Darlene prayed, “I do not need to feel You near, because Your word says You will never leave me nor forsake me.” The words of Hebrews 11:1 welled up in her mind, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Darlene was reminded that she did not put her trust in “feelings or moments of ecstasy, but in the Unchanging Person of Jesus Christ.”
      Suddenly, she realized she was singing,
    “When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace.” 


 “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’”  

2 Corinthians 12:9

  1. Our lives are in God’s hands.

      The air-raid alarm sounded, and all the prisoners ran to the trenches. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, and Darlene stood where she always did. But suddenly she had a thought she was sure came from the Lord, reminding her that she had borrowed another prisoner’s Bible. Darlene raced back to the barracks, rushed into the burning building, scrambled up the ladder to her bunk, grabbed the Bible, and ran back outside. But she could no longer reach the trench and was soon ordered to lie down on the ground by a Japanese guard.

      When the shelling stopped, Darlene and the other prisoners surveyed the damage. An elderly woman, sobbing, told Darlene her sleeping pad had burned.

      “Oh, yes, everything has burned, but we’re still alive. We have much to thank God for!” Darlene said.

      “But I didn’t leave it in the barracks,” the woman said. “I threw it in the ditch where you always lie.”

      Darlene felt the hair stand up on the back of her neck and a chill ran through her. She walked to the trench, and there where she had been crouching was the casing of a bomb, and the ashes of the mattress. Darlene was in awe. God had saved her life by making her think of the Bible she’d borrowed. 


“...the hand of the Lord has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind.”
Job 12:9b-10

  1. Have a close relationship with Jesus.

    One of the things that stands out to me the most in reading Darlene’s story is the close relationship she had with Jesus. She talked to the Lord as one would a friend, bringing all her needs, sorrows, and praises to Him. She did this whether she was at home, on the mission field, in the prison camp, or in solitary confinement on death row. It inspires me to seek to know Jesus as she did, constantly praying and listening for His voice. 


“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


   Well, there are the first three out of five lessons we can learn from Darlene Deibler Rose’s life! Check back in a few weeks for Part Two with the final two lessons.

  Until then, always remember, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it,” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
All for Him,
Savannah Jane 


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