My grandmother, Mdm Ong Ai Ho, went to be with Jesus last night. She was just a little shy of celebrating her 99th birthday. Not many people get to enjoy the blessing of such a long life. Our grandmother never wasted a moment of those years. She showed us that the source of her joy was always in Jesus.
When my brother and myself were young, we used to spend most of our weekends with our grandparents. Each morning when we were at their home, we would hear our grandmother praying. Her prayers were often very conversational and simple. But her prayer requests were extensive, vast, and encompassing. Her supplications often included almost every single member of her family, which could easily number up to fifty, and her church. Though she could not read the Chinese Bible herself, she would listen to God's Word through cassette tapes in Hokkien.
Whenever she encountered any trial in life, her default reaction was always to pray. Her fervency and simplicity of faith had encouraged me over the course of my own ministry. Being a pastor I have had witnessed some of the most trying times of life. I remember a time when I was a student in the US at a Bible college, I became very sick. Being in a foreign country for only a few weeks, without any friends, and without any medical insurance, I started to panic. Suddenly the image of my praying grandmother and her encouragement that prayer placed our lack in the the bounty of God's grace greatly encouraged me. It was through prayer, God miraculously led me to another fellow student who helped me in my recovery process.
Our grandmother was an example of generosity. Her generosity was her natural expressions coming out of a heart of gratitude. Her gratefulness towards God had often translated into cooking for church gatherings and pastors who came over to visit. She never sent away a visitor on an empty stomach. She was also very generous towards us as her grandchildren. I remember when a new MRT (train) station became functional, our grandparents brought my brother and myself to feast at a "posh" restaurant via taking the MRT. Our grandparents were so elated that they got to ride on the MRT themselves!
When Abram turned 99 years-old, God promised him a son that would inaugurate the kingdom of God where all nations would be blessed. When our grandmother turns 99, she will be our father God who will show her the joy of this inaugurated kingdom; a kingdom and a king she had had spent her life loving.