Timothy, a co-worker with the Apostle Paul, had two great advantages. First, he knew the Holy Scriptures since childhood (2 Timothy 3:15), and, secondly, he could “call to remembrance the genuine faith” that dwelt both in his grandmother and mother (2 Timothy 1:5). Although not prerequisites for a godly life, these advantages are a huge blessing. Looking back at the influence of my own grandmother and mother, I see these benefits in my own life. Both my grandmother and mother exhibited the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Their lives exemplified what a Christian walk should look like. Some people claim that it is impossible to live a holy life, but when I look back on these two people in my life who exhibited holiness, I cannot use the excuse of some, who dismiss all Christians they claim to know as hypocrites.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” From a very young age, I was taken along to church on Sundays and to prayer meetings on Wednesdays. Other children were allowed to stay home on Wednesday, but we were expected to be at prayer meeting. This is a habit that has stayed with me. Missing a prayer meeting on Wednesday, unless there is a really good reason, is not an option. It is a habit I am glad my mother instilled in me. I remember times when Mother and I would pray together and claim the promise Jesus gave us in Matthew 18:19, “that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” I remember answers to prayer. And now that my mother has passed on, when there is a special burden that is pressing, I have the privilege of uniting in prayer with my wife. Finding someone to pray with when you are down or when you have experienced great joy is a habit that brings great benefits. When I was with my grandparents, I remember them doing devotions and kneeling down to pray together. These memories are inspirational. Reading the Bible was not something that you did only on Sundays.
I remember Grandmother sitting at her sewing machine and singing. She told me that when she had times of affliction or temptation, she would start singing songs of Zion, and then the tempter would flee. How often since have Christian hymns been an inspiration and a blessing to me. The Bible says, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Listening to the heart-breaking stories of the war, where my grandmother and mother had times of hunger and were in great danger, I was impressed by the thankfulness they exhibited to God for bringing them through. Instead of complaining bitterly about losing all they had, they praised God that they did not starve to death and that He had spared their lives. Grandmother experienced much suffering in her lifetime and bore it with patience. She would often testify of how she experienced God’s direct intervention and help. In particular, in her diary she wrote of a miraculous, instantaneous healing that she experienced when she was still in her twenties. This was later verified by X-ray. Her strong faith in God was not just for the spiritual but also for her physical and natural needs. She was a prayer warrior and one who helped bear the burdens of others.
The last time I remember being with her was in the hospital. She had stomach cancer and had grown so weak that she could not even sit up on her own anymore. She was in pain and very frail. All at once, she turned to my grandfather and said: “Rudolf, do not pray that I get better. I would like to go home” (by which she meant heaven). And then she said: “I am so happy that I could just jump for joy.” In a weak voice, she started to sing: “I will sing hallelujah, for there’s joy in the Lord, and He fills my heart with rapture as I rest on His Word.” The legacy my grandmother and my mother left me is worth more than a rich earthly inheritance. Like Timothy, I am truly blessed.