Hi, I’m Sabrina Lin and I was asked to share a story about my Dad.
My dad, Dr. CT Lo, was born in 1932 in Taiwan and is 87 years old now. He has a PhD in zoology and is an expert in schistosomiasis, which is the scientific name for bilharzia, a disease caused by the blood fluke parasite. So, my Dad worked for the WHO in Ethiopia trying to eradicate bilharzia. Being a scientist made him very skeptical and critical. He didn’t take what you said at face value. He always analyzed everything, almost too much. He thought he was always right. Do you know anyone like this in your family?
With this scientific background, what do you think my Dad thought about Christianity? You guessed it, he claimed to be an atheist, believed in the big bang theory, and in evolution. God? Are you kidding me? Can you prove that with science and data? So as a child, since I became a Christian at age 13, I have been trying to talk to my Dad about God. And he would just wave me off, not wanting to hear about it.
And of course, I would pray for him, and I prayed for him for a long time. I would talk to my mom about his non-faith, and my Mom would just shake her head because she had given up hope that Dad would ever convert. When my boys were cute little toddlers, I would stick them at my Dad…“Go tell ‘A Gung’ about Jesus, Aaron, he’ll listen to you.” Still nothing. As time went, and I’m talking decades, I started to notice that every once in a while my Dad would say something like “thank God” or “pray for me”. And when he was ill sometimes, he would let me pray for him. And he had to admit that whenever he and Mom were driving somewhere and needed to find a parking spot, God always provided one.
Then my Mom passed away in late April of this year. This really impacted my Dad and he was depressed for many months. The last 3 months were very challenging– my Dad lost his life partner of 60 years, moved into a new apartment with my brother and got pneumonia. When I went down to see him 2 weeks ago, he was very weak, lost weight, and cranky. It was hard to get him to eat, sleep, and exercise. Nothing was right or acceptable in his mind. My brother and I tried to please him as best we could without getting angry at him.
On my last day there, Dad was feeling a little down because we had received a lab result about the cause of his pneumonia. He wanted to talk to his brother in Taiwan about it, so my brother, Dad and I took turns talking to my Uncle. For some strange reason, while my Uncle was advising me, he mentioned that he was a Christian and ready to go any time. I told him that I was too, but not my Dad to which my Uncle said, “Oh, you have to try!” After the call, my Dad was content. He was the most docile and peaceful I had seen him all week. My Dad kept saying “sorry, sorry” for what, I’m not sure. Maybe he was sorry that he got pneumonia and the diagnosis was severe? Maybe he realized what a burden he had been to us? I don’t quite know what prompted me, it probably was the Holy Spirit, but the room was just so serene and peaceful, and Dad’s heart seemed soft and open. So….
- I sat next to him and I asked him “Do you want to be forgiven?” he nodded. I was like….”Wait, is this happening?” It was like a slow motion movie.
- I asked him “Do you want Jesus to forgive you?” he nodded and said that he had done a lot of things that needed to be forgiven.
- I asked him “Do you want Jesus Christ to save you?” Yes.
- “Do you want Jesus Christ to be your Lord?” Yes.
By now, tears were trickling down my cheeks. Wait, is this really happening? It was so surreal. I looked over and saw my brother looking at Dad, listening. I asked my brother “I think he just prayed the sinner’s prayer?” To which he replied “I’ll take it!”
Just to be sure, I turned to Dad and said “You just said that you believe in God and that you believe in Jesus Christ.” Then he got irritated and said “Don’t push me.” I hugged him and he went to bed, very peacefully.
What I learned along this journey are 3 things:
(1)KINDNESS: That I can’t be pushy, I had to learn to back off, not just on his faith, but on many things. I am learning to listen more and talk less, and letting the “kindness of God” lead him to Christ.
Romans 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
I think my Dad finally realized how kind God has been to him, giving him a loving son and daughter to care for his needs during his illness. Kindness melts the stubborn heart.
(2) I truly believed that my Mom’s faith provided a covering for my Dad
I Corinthians 7:13-14 “And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife,”
(3) Don’t give up! Keep praying and persevering. I prayed for a softened heart for my Dad and prayed that God would give him the faith the size of a mustard seed.
I really can’t believe that it has been 40 years since I began praying for my Dad’s salvation. I am so thankful that God was faithful and answered my prayers. His timing and ways are mysterious, but don’t give up, He will save your loved ones, trust Him. God bless you all.