The influence of a faithful mother
By A. Ray Lee
When the hospice director called, I closed my reference books, put away sermon notes and hurried to the hospital to be with a daughter who sat alone with her deceased mother awaiting the arrival of other members of her large family who were being summoned with the sad news. As I entered the room the daughter was tenderly stroking her mother’s lifeless hand as she kept a silent vigil.
I introduced myself as a hospice chaplain and eased into a chair near her as she began to quietly speak, seemingly more to herself than to me, as she tried to process what was happening. Her large family had all visited in the morning. In the afternoon her mother had shown marked improvement and had insisted the father, who had spent the last two days and nights at her side, go home and get some rest. All the others in the family had left except this daughter who remained at her mother’s side.
As she spoke of her concern for all the family, but especially for her father, she wondered how they would manage without her mother. She had been the one to whom the family had turned in times of trouble and distress. To whom could they turn now? Where could they find strength and comfort?
As she continued to speak my eyes turned toward her mother’s face and then back to her. The similarity was striking. The outward features were so obvious there could be no question of the mother-daughter relationship. In those moments, as I heard the concern for the family in her voice, I sensed there was more than just a physical likeness.
It would have been easy to give a pious platitude, however true it might be, about the comfort which the Holy Spirit gives to those who trust him, then pray for His presence to be with the family and go back to my studies. In these moments they needed someone who could physically stand with them in their sorrow. Yet, I sensed I was not the one needed, for I was an unknown individual who would be present with the family for a short time and then in all probability never have the opportunity to minister to them again.
When the daughter paused in speaking, I shared how much she looked like her mother and that I sensed she possessed the inner qualities of faith and strength like her mother. The blood of her mother flowed through her veins and now she would be the strong one to guide the family through the difficult hours they faced.
As the family members arrived, they came together in a small waiting room where she met them one by one. I remained apart waiting for the right moment to say a few words of comfort and pray with them. But they all gathered around her as she embraced her father and confidently told them what I had said about the blood and faith of her mother flowing through her. She comforted them with words much like what I assumed her mother would have, giving assurance they would face their sorrow together.
Those were sacred moments for the family. Without a word or prayer, I slipped out and returned to my sermon preparation for I was no longer needed. As I drove away, I thought of the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy when he commended him for his faith. He had written, “I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
Never underestimate the influence of a faithful mother.