Pastoral Perspectives

An Answer That Was Never Too Late

23 Sep 2012

I accepted Christ at age 16 after my “O” levels. A few of my Christian friends strategized to reach me for Christ through an “O” Level study group.  My primary objective to accept Christ as my Lord and savior at that time was to ask God to help my mother recover from her sickness. Even though it was not a miraculous cure, my mother’s condition did improve tremendously.  But when my mother got to know that I received Christ, she scolded me nonstop throughout the night. She was very upset because our family was in the business of selling items for ancestry worship.  And she was very angry because I had betrayed my family’s religion and thus was not a filial son.  Despite all the scolding and persecution, I had made up my mind that the only way that I could be a filial son was to bring salvation to her. Since then whenever she reprimanded me about my faith, I would take the opportunity to preach and tell her about the Kingdom of God.  It went on for several years and finally we got tired and stop the confrontation as neither of us succeeded in convincing each other. During those years of cold war, I had occasionally pray for my mother’s salvation. On the few occasions when I heard testimonies of how God had brought salvation to the whole family, my heart ached because of my own family’s situation. But I continued to pray that God would one day answer my prayer. After 23 years, my mother finally said yes. She said to me 3 months ago, “I will follow your God and made Him my God.” I was encouraged and amazed at God’s sovereign plan. I had tried very hard on my own to reach out her and to no avail but God worked his way into my mother’s heart.

Here is the story of my mother’s conversion.  My mother had a difficult marriage. Since young I had witnessed my parents’ numerous quarrel because of my father’s extramarital affair and their shared ancestry worship business. I only got to enjoy some peace after I moved out and had my own house. However last year, my parents’ marriage reached to a low point where my mother had to lodge a restraint order against my father because of his persisting violence against her. Finally she had enough and requested for a divorce. I was just about to recover from a personal struggle and was dragged into it to help deal with the divorce settlement. And it was a nightmare for me having to mediate their terms and conditions for the divorce. Needless to say, I drifted back into my emotional roller coaster ride. It was during this period that my mother’s condition also turned for the worst. I had discussed with my family and decided that she should stay with us until she got her own house.  And of course there were lot of adjustment for us and my mother.  However my mother continued to be a fervent and devoted believer of Buddhism and attended weekly Buddhist scripture study despite of her health.

As we were discussing on how to fit her schedule with mine so that I could fetch her around, I have a strong prompting that she was not happy and had no peace in her heart. So I took the courage to ask her a simple but profound question, “Are you happy? Have you been happy all these years being an ancestral worshiper and a disciple of Buddhism”? There was a long pause of silence. She didn’t look at me but I know she was in deep thought. I pressed on and said “Look at me, I don’t have much but can you see that we are happy in Christ?” There was another long pause. Her answer was unexpected. She said “From today on, I will follow your God and made him my God. “ The next few days, she packed up all her Buddhist materials and asked me to return them to her Buddhist society.  I was overjoyed. The following Sunday, I brought her to our Chinese service and she cried throughout the whole service and for the following two weeks.  She couldn’t understand why she cried during the service so she asked me. I told her “It was because you were lost for so many years and finally you return to your father’s house to be embraced. So it is natural to cry as a child of God”.  Since then she was a fervent Christian attending services and bible studies. She even brought her friend and my sister to our Chinese Congregation Sunday service.

As she was looking for a house to move to after the divorce, she went around Yishun to survey the ground. She came across a block of flat that she really like because it was very convenient, being near the MRT, a church, hawker center and wet market. She prayed that God will grant her a unit in that block.  Lo and behold God did answer her prayer.  Not knowing her prayer, I went through the Newspaper and made arrangement with several property agents to view some units in Yishun. I visited all those units and zoomed down to one suitable unit. When I brought my mother to view the unit, she was shocked to see that I was leading her to the block that she had prayed to God about. When we clinched the deal, my mother gave the brightest smile I ever saw. I really thank God for answering her prayers.

Now, my mother has moved into her new flat with my sister. She is now attending regular services with her in the church near the house. She is also attending regular bible studies and enjoying fellowship with the community there. Al I can say is “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9.

Preacher Alvin Lim

September 23, 2012