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 (Manna 69: One True Church)
A Mother's Lesson in Faith
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A Mother's Lesson in Faith

The children of Sing Jing Tang—Elgin, Scotland, UK


In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we testify.

"It's cancer"… the words that strike fear in countless families. Now, it was our family’s turn to battle with cancer in a loved one. Our mother had been experiencing discomfort in her intestinal area for a while. She underwent a colon examination in Scotland and was told there were no problems. Still, she felt something was not right. So when she and our father had their annual stay in Hong Kong in January 2012, we persuaded her to seek another doctor’s opinion.

A gastroenterology specialist arranged an endoscopy to investigate her entire intestinal tract. Our mother originally opted to test only the upper intestine but was persuaded to undergo a complete examination. A three-centimeter mass was found in her colon. Luckily, our mother had agreed to the full examination, the specialist said, otherwise they would have missed the tumor.

The next step was to determine if the tumor was malignant or benign. One week later, the results came in. Our parents encouraged us to pray silently and to accept the results, no matter what they were. The specialist reported that the tumor was malignant and they would have to check if there were more cancerous cells. In the taxi home, no one spoke as we tried to come to terms with what the future might hold for her and our whole family. We called our brother, anxiously waiting back in Scotland. Saying aloud that it was cancer finally made it real to us, and we all broke down in tears. Our father went into his room and closed the door. Yet our mother just went into the kitchen and started preparing dinner as usual. When we checked on our father, we found him sitting on the bed, sobbing silently. That was only the second time we had ever seen him cry. Our mother put her arms around him, telling him (and us) to be strong, for there was still hope.

By the quiet power of her faith, our mother was the comforter instead of the one who needed comfort. She was the one facing cancer, and yet she was the one with the most hope and serenity. We always knew our mother's faith in God was strong and steadfast, but now seeing it in action was touching, remarkable, and inspiring. She set a wonderful example for us as a parent and as a Christian. Her faith in God was so steadfast that she did not cry once over her illness. If she could be so positive, how could we be anything less? She stated that nobody wants this illness, but it falls to us now to face it with faith. Where was her faith if she murmured against God asking, “Why me?” If she were to doubt now, in what has she believed all these years? She wanted us to accept that whatever the future held for her, it must be according to God’s will. Was she scared? She said she couldn’t and shouldn't be afraid if she trusted God and had her family behind her.


"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Ps 46:1)

As the news of my mother’s illness spread, we received much encouragement from the prayers, concern, and good wishes of our brethren around the world. A preacher suggested we hold family services to strengthen us. We would sing a hymn, read and share a chapter of Psalms, and then pray. When we reached the famous Psalm 23, the beautiful words were particularly poignant and relevant to us:

though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

(Ps 23:4)

Our mother was experiencing this walk herself and by extension, our whole family was too. Yet God’s words told us to keep walking without fear, for our loving, almighty Lord was with us every step of the way. Through God’s word and our long prayers, it seemed that we were actually doing something constructive to deal with our ordeal.

It was also comforting to know that many people were walking along with us. In our parents’ home church in Elgin, the members prayed for our mother and some members even fasted. Each day, our parents would join Elgin Church’s morning service by reading the same chapter from the Bible and praying for the same duration. Brethren and family may have been separated by distance and time but they were together in spirit and united in the same cause.

Our mother had to undergo further tests and scans to see if there were more tumors in her body. Each time she underwent a procedure, she would ask God for courage and the will to endure. Each time we dreaded what the results would show. We wavered between thinking the worst and trying to be optimistic. Throughout all this, our mother was her usual calm self, maintaining her habit of morning Bible reading and prayers.

Thank God, we were told that the cancer had not spread to other parts of her body. The tumor in her colon, however, had to be removed and the surrounding tissues had to be checked. We were told that, as with all surgeries, there were risks with recovery and infection.

We knew there were long public hospital waiting lists and that if we opted for private care, the potential costs could be astronomical. There was much to consider and organize. Where could we start? As we faced each new hurdle, we could only keep praying and hoping for God’s mercy and guidance.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

(Prov 3:5–6)

At every stage, we found that our loving Lord did not fail us. Surely, it must have been God’s arrangement that the old primary school teacher on our parents’ home island, Ap Chau, had a son who was an oncologist in Hong Kong. After a consultation with him in the morning, he arranged for our mother to be registered at a well-known hospital through his contacts that same afternoon.

The following week, the hospital’s colorectal surgery team examined our mother. She was then approved for surgery and placed on the waiting list. Furthermore, they said that only keyhole surgery was needed, which was much less invasive. We had heard that local patients in our mother's situation could wait up to two years for surgery. Yet we were told to expect a surgery date within the next four to six weeks!

Everything proceeded well, beyond our expectations. In our weakness, slight doubts started creeping in when we did not receive a confirmed operation date. Once again, when we started to become anxious, our mother remained quietly patient and faithful that God would arrange.

God’s grace is indeed great and more than we deserve. It turned out our mother went into hospital on the day that one of us began a two-week Easter break from school. We could make the long daily trips between home and the hospital with our father, keep him company, and help our mother before and after surgery. God’s wonderful arrangement enabled us to do this without the added stress of juggling work commitments and requesting leave.

Thank God, after a successful operation and a week’s recuperation, our mother was discharged. We decided to have lunch in the hospital canteen before taking a taxi home. Whenever we got up to leave, she would tell us to wait a little longer. Later, she told us that she had a feeling she should not leave. Then, on our way out, she suddenly collapsed and fainted in the hospital lobby. Thankfully we were supporting her at the time, so she did not fall and hurt herself. Our mother had to be readmitted, but, by God’s arrangement, she had collapsed in the same hospital, so her records were on file for doctors to follow. If she had fainted in the taxi, we would not have been able to get her help straightaway. If she had collapsed at home, she would have been admitted into a different district hospital, which would not have her medical history.

Our mother had to stay overnight in the general ward. Although it was sad to see her undergo more discomfort, it was yet another part of God’s providential arrangement. After various tests, the doctors said our mother’s collapse was due to her anti-hypertension medication. Consequently, her medication was adjusted and reduced. Our mother had been worried about her levels of medication, and now, through God’s blessing, her worries were resolved.

The final hurdle was whether our mother needed chemotherapy. We were told that the tumor had been caught early. It was growing on the surface of the colon wall and had not penetrated beneath, so no chemotherapy was required. She was now clear of cancer, although she would need regular check-ups in the future. We praise and thank God.


After years of training her faith, our mother had succeeded. When tested, she prevailed and was not found wanting. We thank God for the blessing He bestowed upon our mother and for her example of faith in adversity. Our family experienced God’s power and grace and learned to entrust. We also thank everyone who sustained us through their prayers and words of encouragement. May all glory be given to our almighty Lord Jesus, who holds not only life and death in His hands, but also mercy and grace.

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