I’m very concerned about my old mother who’s in her 80’s and is still not a christian. She is in frail health and I’m afraid she may go anytime. I’ve tried to talk to her about Jesus and she has gone to church several times, but I really don’t know how much she understands. What shall I do?
Let me tell you the story of my father. He is an eye specialist with many interests, one of which is studying religions. He spent a lot of time attending classes on Catholicism, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism… even doing research on the supernatural.
He has visited Malaysia to find out about astral travel; the Philippines to see the faith healers who operated with their bare hands; Nepal to attend the world Buddhist conference; and the UK to sit in a séance with mediums. He was not looking to find a god to worship; he was only interested to learn about religions to satisfy his intellectual curiosity.
Ever since I became a Christian in my teens, I have been concerned about my family’s salvation. Over the years, I tried to share my faith. My father was always willing to listen. I found out years later that he had kept a letter I wrote to him, telling him of my desire for him to know Jesus. He went to church on special occasions and even took time off from his busy practice to attend the ladies’ group meetings when I spoke.
However when I asked if he wished to be baptised, he said he was already baptised. It happened when he was a student in a Christian school as a boarder. The Christians went to church on Sunday and after church, they were allowed to go home. So he got himself baptised so he could go to church and go home afterwards.
That was as far as Christianity meant to him. After my marriage and relocation to Malaysia and Australia, whenever I visited my parents in Hong Kong, I would find opportunity to share the gospel. I would suggest we read the Bible together and pray together. He joined in but never participated, saying, “You read. You pray”. On different visits, I saw he had books on the various religious cults he had studied.
Dad was 86 when he became ill. Thinking he was dying, Mom called all the children to return to Hong Kong. Again I asked Dad if he wanted to be baptised. This time without hesitation, he agreed. I baptised him (by sprinkling) as he was lying on the hospital bed.
The next day, I could see a change in his attitude, words and actions. He requested that we read the Bible together and pray together! And to the amazement of his doctors, he began to recover. In a few weeks, he was well enough to be discharged to fly to Perth.
He lived for almost another year with us, attending church, requesting frequently that we read the Bible and pray with him. I asked him why of all the religions he studied, he chose Christianity. He replied, “No other religion offered me what Jesus offered”.
So, persevere in praying for your mom. Do not give up sharing and explaining even if she does not show any positive response. The Holy Spirit is working. Jesus said we are to be witnesses but it is the Holy Spirit who will do the convicting.
While writing this, as if confirming it, a friend told me a similar story. It seemed she couldn’t break down the wall of resistance from her elderly mother in spite of repeated attempts to share the Good News with her. But one day out of the blue, of her own accord, her mother asked the visiting pastor if she could be baptised.
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