Jacob DeShazer (1912-2008) was born in Oregon (USA), in a Christian family. He later rejected his parents’ faith. In 1942, during the World War II, he enlisted in the Air Force. He was on board the ‘USS Hornet’ in the Pacific Ocean preparing for the attack against Japan. The Easter service was held inside the aircraft’s carrier. All men attended it but he refused. After that, they took off and they threw the bombs on the city of Nagoya, Japan. This attack called ‘The Doolitle raid’ was designed to be ‘one way trip’. The men in the plane were to land with parachutes over the neutral China. Unfortunately, the plane strayed over Japan territory and Jacob was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese. The next three years were hell on earth for Jacob and his mates who survived. They were tortured to make confessions and kept for months in solitary confinement. Several were publicly executed. Jacob survived by cultivating an intense hatred against the Japanese. He planned that one day he will avenge himself. He and others were later transferred to a prison in China. They were given food just enough to survive. The prison officers also gave them a Bible. They shared it among themselves. Because he was so lonely and bored, when it came to his turn to have the Bible, he read it from Genesis to Revelation. When he read Romans 10:9, the Holy Spirit opened his heart and he believed. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). This is how he became saved. He repented of all his sins and confessed them to others. He knew the joy of forgiveness and peace with God. He later wrote: “How my heart rejoiced in my newness of spiritual life, even though my body was still suffering so terribly from the physical beatings and lack of food”. In the lowest depth of agony, God has given life to Jacob DeShazer’s soul! Praise the Lord!
His life now changed. He asks God for gifts to serve Him. The Holy Spirit gave him first the gift of prayer. He spent much of his time in the cell praying for the prison guards and for the Japanese people in general. His conversion included learning a few words of Japanese and treating his captors with respect, which resulted in the guards reacting in a similar fashion. Everybody heard about this prisoner called Jacob. In the past, when the guards beat him he will insult them. Now he will bless them and tell them words of love! After the war, he went back to the US. The American Government decorated him with many medals. He enrolled into a Bible college affiliated with the Free Methodist denomination, preparing himself to go back to Japan as a missionary. He married a wonderful Christian woman called Florence and in 1948 they both went to Japan as missionaries. In 1959, they moved to Nagoya to establish a Christian church in the city he had bombed. After the bombing, Nagoya was rebuild.
He wrote Christian tracts. He later met the Japanese Captain Mitsuo Fuchida who bombed the Americans at Pearl Harbor. He became converted too after reading Jacob’s conversion. Together, they preached the Gospel of Christ in many places. Theirs was a lifelong friendship. I find that to be especially beautiful…that one of the main participants of the Doolitte raid would befriend the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor whose actions resulted in the deaths of 2,403 Americans. Fuchida went on and became a missionary to Asia. When he died in 1977 his close friend, Jacob DeShazer led the funeral, gave a sermon and said goodbye to his close friend.
DeShazer retired after 30 years of missionary service in Japan and went back to his home town in Salem, Oregon where he spent the last years of his life in an assisted living home with his wife, Florence. On 15 March 2008, DeShazer died in his sleep at the age of 95, leaving his wife and five children: Paul, John, Mark, Carol, and Ruth. At his funeral service it was said: “At this time in our history, we feel it is ideal to honor a man who was a genuine war hero, [but] who after his sacrificial service put on gloves of peace, and touched the entire world with grace and humility.” God alone takes all the glory for such a wonderful salvation!
(In the Pictures, The bombing over Nagoya, Jacob and Florence DeShazer going to Japan as missionaries, Jacob doing evangelism in Nagoya, Japan and the City of Nagoya as it is today)
Spiritually speaking, courtship is right and dating is wrong. What are the basic differences?
Courtship is a relationship between a man and a woman in which they seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to marry each other. Under the protection, guidance, and blessing of parents or mentors, the couple concentrates on developing a deep friendship that could lead to marriage, as they discern their readiness for marriage and God’s timing for their marriage. Courtship is a choice to avoid temptation and experience the blessings of purity. It is a choice to not emotionally give away your heart, piece by piece, to many others through casual dating relationships and instead to give your whole heart to your life partner. It is a choice to wait for God’s best, for His glory. It is a decision to walk by faith, to trust in God, to honor others above yourself, and to believe that God will deal bountifully with you, because He is love. (2 Cor 5:7, Rom 12:10, 1 Jn 4:8).
If, during the courtship, one or both parties realize that marriage is not God’s will and they end the relationship, the courtship has not failed. On the contrary, the courtship was successful, because God gave the direction that was sought through it. Although the termination of a courtship most likely will be painful, damage and hurt—which can lead to bitterness—can be avoided. Both parties, as well as their families and all the people who love them, should continue to trust in the Lord and accept the grace He gives to deal with any disappointment or unfulfilled hopes.
The main difference between Dating and Courtship is in the Purpose of the Relationship. Ask yourselves this question: what are the goals to be reached by spending time with a potential marriage partner? Men and women who choose to date often have no commitment to consider marrying the other person. Maturity and readiness for marriage are not considerations in the decision to date. Instead, couples usually date with the selfish goals of having fun and enjoying romantic attachments.
In contrast, courtship is undertaken only when both parties are prepared to make a commitment to marriage. Dating tries to answer the question, ‘how can I find the one who will make me happy’? Courtship strives to answer the question, ‘how can I honor God and discern His direction regarding my life partner’?
In a dating relationship, there is little if any accountability for the couple and little or no interaction with family members. The dating couple is merely attracted to one another in some way and often pursues an exclusive relationship that is independent of others’ wise influence or godly counsel. Since the boundaries of the relationship are self-determined, the couple may easily succumb to temptation and fail to consider their responsibility to honor each other in purity and genuine love. A couple participating in courtship seeks the accountability of their parents or other mentors. As they establish guidelines for their relationship, they can more easily recognize that God also holds them responsible to honor one another. Receiving God’s grace and the support of others strengthens them to maintain their commitment to purity.
In a dating relationship, self-gratification is normally the basis of the relationship. Instead of focusing on God’s pleasure, the couple is often looking for personal pleasure. This oblivious self-centeredness can lead only to dissatisfaction, promoting an attitude of lust (taking what I want) rather than the Scriptural attitude of love (giving unselfishly to others). Consequently, dating opens the door to many temptations. If defrauding (stirring up desires that cannot be righteously satisfied) occurs, the couple can foolishly and tragically give away both emotional and physical affections that should have been reserved for a life partner. Thus, in a dating relationship, frequently intimacy precedes commitment. A courting couple can evade numerous temptations by the choice to be held accountable to God-given authorities. The dangers of defrauding can be avoided more successfully, and an honest, open friendship can be nurtured and protected. Thus, in courtship, commitment precedes intimacy.
Since one of the most important decisions we will make is the decision of marriage, we should make every effort to know and do God’s will in this area. A dating relationship is usually based only on what the dating couple presently knows about each other. In contrast, a Biblical courtship is based on what God knows about each partner and on His plans for their futures.
Jesus gave this instruction with a promise: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33). When a person makes a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ the foundation of all decisions—as he or she seeks God’s kingdom—God will provide all that is needed, including the marriage partner prepared by God just for that person (PV 18:22, 19:14.)!
God bless the young (and not so young) believers who pray for the gift of marriage! God bless their parents, pastors, true friends and mentors as they help guide and encourage them! May God answer your prayers! May God help us all!
(In the picture: the wedding of Matthew and Jemine (our youngest daughter) in 2012. Both were born again and committed Christians before they met. They both decided to pass the test of godly dating and to be sexually pure before their wedding. They both submitted to wise godly counsel from their parents and pastors. They are now happily married and have two lovely children. I use them as a point of contact for other singles who pray to experience the blessings of godly dating and happy marriage. To God be all the glory!)