I wake up this morning and thought of papa and mama. They passed away within 4 months of each other. As I think about this, I remember Jesus said:
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24)
Legacy of dying…
What did their death bring me? Sadness… a vacuum inside me.. longing… nostalgia… memories… legacies… More than these I believe what Jesus said, their death brings forth life. They lived a life in Jesus. In their death, I will continue to proclaim Jesus, our Saviour who gives life. I testify to how God looked after them from birth through life to death, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer. God provides and shows us His will on earth as it is in heaven. As I reflect on the lives of papa and mama, let their legacies live on so that more people will come to know and experience the amazing grace of God – giving life now and in eternity.
There once was a rich man who complained to his minister:
“Why do people dislike me when everyone knows that when I die I’m leaving everything to the church?”
“Let me tell you a fable about the pig and the cow,” said the minister.
“The pig was unpopular while the cow was beloved. This puzzled the pig. ‘People speak warmly of your gentle nature and your sorrowful eyes,’ the pig said to the cow. ‘They think you’re generous because each day you give them milk and cream. But what about me? I give them everything I have. I give bacon and ham. I provide bristles for brushes. They even pickle my feet! Yet not one likes me. Why is that?’ Do you know what the cow answered?” said the minister. “The cow said, ‘Perhaps it is because I give while I’m still living.'”
Legacy of living…
Papa and mama showed me how to live. They loved God and loved people. How? They served with their heart, hands, time and resources. Papa loved to help people. He served in the fellowship arranging chairs, bringing people water and snacks. Friends often asked him to run errands for them – buying things in Chinatown for them. Mama was a dedicated teacher n leader for 43 years at Hope Christian High School. She helped get scholarships for her students. She inspired them to do their best. Many friends told me she was their favourite teacher. She encouraged parents with her friendship. She often told people of how God helped and healed her sickness.
Pa and ma were not rich but they were happy and secure. Theirs was not a life of sunshine and a bed of roses. They were brave in adversity. Mama lost her father when she was 3. At 24, she nearly died giving birth to me. For more than 4 decades, she worked hard to help my dad support our family. She went through dialysis at 64. had kidney transplant 6 months after, had salmonella, shingles, benign tremor. She was immno-compromised from the many meds she took after her kidney transplant. Papa lost his eyesight to glaucoma. His knees hurt from years of playing tennis. He had countless falls due to his blindness. He suffered bouts of panic and fear attacks. In the past 4 months, at 92, he grieved the loss of his wife of 55 years. He went through peg insertion, pneumonia, sepsis, bowel obstruction. For 2-3 days, he was pooping through his mouth, his nose and his peg. He had stent insertion to resolve that. Strong meds to cure his pneumonia compromised his kidneys. His bed sores worsened when he had to undergo dialysis. They showed us how to be brave and strong in sufferings. Papa and mama were strong in weakness.
How did they do that? They prayed. In good times, they praised and thanked God. In bad times, they prayed on, trusted and depended on God. They hanged on. They did not blame God. They believed in His promises – that He will never leave them or forsake them, that he will give peace beyond human understanding, and to those that overcome, he will give a crown of righteousness in the life beyond – for always in the presence of our Creator and Redeemer. Today, they are living out that promise. They are together in a place where there is no more pain, no more tear and no more night.
Papa and mama illustrate for me how to live well like Jesus. Their death reminds me how Jesus died so that we can live well now and forever.