By Eugene Seah, 23, Singapore
As we sat around the fire keeping ourselves warm on a wintry Nepali dawn, my Nepalese friends shared the gospel with the lady who was toasting our breakfast.
She replied, “If by believing in your God I can don’t work, then I’ll believe!”
How would you respond to that? Personally, I could not offer an adequate response then. But today, as I recalled my grandmother’s testimony, I found the words to say.
You see, in the 1960s, the Chinese in Singapore generally preferred guys to girls. As a result, my grandmother was often abused—physically and verbally—by her father-in-law for failing to bear a male heir. She had three daughters. Her father-in-law asked his son to take in another wife. Thankfully, he decided against it. While pregnant with her fourth child and still not spared of physical abuse, she was egged on by neighbours to commit suicide. However, she persevered, not wanting her children to grow up without a mother.
One day, on the way to the butchery where her husband worked, she passed by a Christian rally. She muttered in her head, “If you are a God who can save me from all my heartaches and watch over my children, I will believe in You!”
Today, my grandmother is the proud mother of six children (three daughters followed by three sons), and dearly loved by almost a dozen grandchildren.
God has placed hope in her heart and sustained her through the years of storm. Our great God heard her cry from heaven and answered (Psalm 55:16)!
In response, she has adopted prayer as a lifestyle. She communes with God about her struggles and thank God for everything (Philippians 4:6). Also, she has taken up God’s charge to seek out His lost sheep by sharing the gospel with her siblings and other non-believers. She never misses any opportunity to share Christ! Despite her illiteracy, God uses her to bring many to salvation.
My grandmother is earnest to understand the Scriptures better. Eventually she learned how to read the Bible in Mandarin and participated in seminars to learn more about Him. In many ways, her fervor puts me to shame.
Last year, she was diagnosed with cancer. Naturally, she was disappointed and worried by the news. However, our family could see that the moments of sadness were fleeting and her jovial self soon returned.
Just as my grandmother has always done, she wasted no opportunity in sharing His gospel, His faithfulness and His goodness, even while battling with cancer! Indeed, as our God is a God of all seasons, we are to strive to be a worshipper in all seasons too.
Back to the question posed by the Nepali lady, how would I reply her now?
Being a follower of Christ doesn’t mean that we could stop working. Rather, there will be plenty to do. However, the difference is that we work with the full assurance that God is in control and our labor is not in vain.
Through my grandmother’s life, I see God’s greatness and faithfulness. He gives real joy to all His children. Also we can take comfort in the knowledge that His children will receive an eternal reward that will neither decay nor devalue (Revelation 22:12).
Indeed, illness and hardships may wear out our physical bodies. However, as children of God, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
God-willing, I hope to go back to Nepal to tell the Nepali aunty of our Lord’s goodness. May His steadfast love in the life of my grandmother, who is on the road to recovery, be a real encouragement to her! Till then, I shall speak of His goodness wherever He places me. Join me to declare His praise everywhere we go.