When Goh Hock Chye first became a Christian as a college student, his mother would come into his room on Sunday mornings and turn off his alarm clock so he wouldn’t arrive in time for church.
The first time he shared the Gospel with her in Mandarin using the Four Spiritual Laws, his face fell. While she was not one to scold or shout, she negotiated with him to “retreat from this new belief”.
“In her mind, she had lost a son because I had received Christ and told her that I could not follow her to participate in other religious practices,” Hock Chye, 51, said today executive director of Cru Singapore.
It seemed like she would never endorse her faith, let alone ever enter a church herself.
Yet more than three decades later, in December 2021, Hock Chye found himself standing in a Hokkien worship service with his mother — in the baptismal pool.
After accepting Christ, she made a special request for her son, who is an elder at Bethesda Church (Bedok-Tampines)to baptize her.
“From someone who tried to talk me out of believing that she now wants me to baptize her – it’s almost a 180 degree turn. The many years of waiting for my mother to invite Jesus into her life and publicly acknowledge his faith in Jesus was worth it,” Hock Chye said. Salt&Light.
God’s part in salvation
Like many, Hock Chye knows what it’s like to wait and pray for the salvation of a loved one. It took 34 years – from 1987 to 2021 – of prayer and intentionality before her mother accepted Christ and publicly declared her faith.
Although the process can be daunting, he encouraged believers trying to reach out to others: “Don’t lose hope! Do not miss to take the tour. The light at the end may be visible after the turn.
There are three parts to saving a loved one: God’s part, our part, and their part.
Sharing his own experience, he said that saving a loved one has three parts: God’s part, our part and their part.
It is important to recognize first and foremost God’s part in salvation, for it is ultimately He who softens people’s hearts and heals their spiritual sight.
In Romans 1:14 we see that God is already at work preparing the ground, sending helping spirits to those who are to inherit salvation.
When we pray for others and reach out to others, we are not doing it alone or pleading with a God who is reluctant to save, for he is patient and does not wish anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) .
“We have to recognize that,” Hock Chye said. “Yes, we can ask God to soften our mother’s heart, our parents’ heart, but he is already doing that.”
Our Role in Salvation
In this spirit, our next step would be to pray – not only to humbly ask God to work in the heart of our beloved, but also to help we lean towards God and align yourself with what he does, so that we can join him in his work.
“God is the remover of spiritual blindness. So when God takes it away, what do they see? They see us.”
“What part of ourselves does God want us to offer as a testimony? Sometimes it’s to share with our lives, sometimes it’s to say I’m sorry,” Hock Chye said.
“God is the remover of spiritual blindness. So when God takes it away, what do they see? They see us. If we are not the salt and light that we should be, then we have to grow,” he added.
When we pray, God reveals to us those areas in which we need to change. He said, “Are there ways I need to forgive? To kiss? address?”
As Hock Chye prayed for his mother, now 76, he began to see that showing love meant being more intentional about spending time with her and doing things that matter to her.
For example, even though he never participated in Qing Ming Jie, he decided to take time off from work every year to drive his parents where they wanted to go, because he realized that it was a important day for them to show respect to their late parents. .
“Praying changes me because God molds this messenger to bring the message to others.”
During the car rides, they chatted meaningfully and swapped stories. Hock Chye also shared with them that the Bible also values filial piety and asked them if he did anything disrespectful to them as their son.
“Praying changes me because God molds this messenger to bring the message to others,” he said.
Through prayer, Hock Chye also found himself becoming more empathetic towards his mother’s reluctance to change his life even after verbally accepting Christ 15 years ago.
“She’s letting go of a belief system that she’s given her life to for 60, 70 years, to enter into a new belief, a new worldview,” he said.
“As the eldest of seven siblings, she also feels responsible for them. If she became a Christian, would they think she’s no longer filial? You don’t love your parents anymore? It’s all very real for her.
Their Role in Salvation
Nonetheless, Hock Chye admitted that he struggled with feelings of discouragement many times over the three decades he prayed for his mother.
Sharing his struggles with his cell group members and digging into the Word of God helped ground him and renew his hope during such times, he said.
But at the end of the day, he realized that as human beings created by God to have free will, salvation is ultimately an individual decision that must be made by each person – whatever something we have to accept that we cannot do for them.
“I cannot force my parents to enter the Kingdom. I can encourage them, share with them, but they have to make the decision,” Hock Chye said.
Salvation is ultimately an individual decision that must be made by each person – something we must accept that we cannot do for them.
This means that our loved ones may not choose Christ, he added.
“But I also think that we shouldn’t minimize those last moments when people are catching their last breaths, struggling with their lives, who may also be in a coma. Who knows if those in disbelief cry out to God in the last split second before their life is taken from them? he said.
Just as Jesus was gracious to the dying thief who, in his dying breaths, asked Jesus to remember him (Luke 23:40-43), God will also be gracious to those who call on his name at their last moment.
For Hock Chye’s mother, taking her faith seriously was a milestone she took in 2020, after experiencing God’s grace in her life.
When she lost her job during the pandemic, Hock Chye, his wife and three daughters told her they were praying for her.
Through a series of divine connections, she found a job that offered her higher pay with less work – and great co-workers to boot.
When Hock Chye pointed out to her that it was God’s answer to their prayers, she agreed to go to church to thank God – and has been going there every week since.
Hock Chye encouraged those who are still waiting and praying for the salvation of a loved one not to lose hope.
“Hope is so important. I’ve heard stories where people don’t believe that their loved ones or family will ever know the Lord, and they did! They have a seizure, an accident, a seizure, conscience, or their good friend has become a believer,” he said.
“Keep growing into the kind of person Christ wants us to be. I think that’s the best part of the witness.
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