I’m thinking out loud here…
I’ve mentioned that for our ladies’ luncheon this year, instead of a speaker giving a devotional, we’re having a lady do a dramatic presentation of Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose, an autobiographical book about her confinement in a Japanese prison camp while serving as a missionary to the Philippines during WWII. I read it years ago: it’s a tremendous book. So I was excited to hear that this lady did this presentation.
In determining the theme and theme verse for the luncheon, I’ve been dipping in and rereading parts of the book. You can’t read much of it without the theme of faith becoming prominent. What I don’t want to happen, though, is for people to walk away from the presentation thinking, “Wow, how inspirational. She had such great faith. I could never do what she did, but what a great story.” I don’t think she would have wanted people to magnify her, or even her faith. In her acknowledgments, she wrote,
“More than ten years ago I began to write the story of my experiences during World War II for Bruce and Brian, my 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.”
She would want God, the object of her faith magnified, not the size of her own faith.
That reminded me of the time the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to increase their faith. He didn’t give them a three point formula for increasing faith. He responded in Luke 17: 6: “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” You have probably heard it said that the mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. He seems to be saying, “It’s not the size of your faith that matters: just exercise what you have.”
Another passage that has been coming to mind in connection with Darlene’s story is from I Peter 1:
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory…
One idea for a theme for the luncheon was “Golden Faith” — a faith tried, purified, and precious.
It seems that what is more important to the Lord is not the size of our faith, but its purity, from the above verses, and it’s simplicity, from Mark 10:
14 But when Jesus saw it [that they were turning away the children], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
See also Matthew 18: 1-6.
And, of course, it’s not just the character of faith: it is primarily the object of our faith: not some nebulous or mysterious idea of “the universe” (you hear people say things like that these days: “The universe has a purpose,” etc.) God wants us to have faith in Him.
Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Now…I just need to figure out a way to distill these thoughts into something more concise.