I was keen to attend a talk by a Spirit-filled Catholic from Down Under, Australia, and I am so glad I did. Anne and I had met before, through a priest who brought us together, and we had also prayed together. So when I learnt that she would be coming to our parish again, I was prepared to make time for what I was certain would be worth every moment sacrificed.
True enough. It was a talk that came from the heart. It was, one might even say, truly inspired. It left me enriched. I felt uplifted. I was certain that I had been well fed and Anne Gatenby did give many relevant bible quotations as well. She was not dramatic. She was not shouting at the top of her voice to gain attention. No, she was just gentle, loving and so very open to the leading of the Spirit. Praise God!
The talk started in a refreshingly simple way. A story. . . . of a man who was told that he would have something precious given him. He would have a son, and he did. But he had to surrender the son, and could he do that?
Very soon, one is led to the story of Abraham and Isaac and how Abraham’s faith was tested. He had to be put to the test, and he showed that he feared God. His faith proved to be authentic and genuine. He passed with flying colours, and our good Lord, ever so gracious and merciful, did not even hold his earlier mistake (of trying to get another son quickly by Hagar) against him.
Anne showed us the importance of trials in one’s life. They are important in that they help us to put our faith to the test, and when we emerge victorious we can unceasingly thank God. He is faithful and He will see us through all the tough times. I liked the reference that was made about Job, a book that Anne said she had read several times. If anything at all, one can refer to Job Chapter 23.
10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13“But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him.
One point that grabbed my attention was the need to not give up. One must persevere. It can be tempting to give up when the going gets tough, and then there is always the temptation to go back to one’s previous preoccupation, one that was there before the call of God to do his will, so to speak. The apostles were ready to go back to fishing.
Thank God for the grace of God. Sufficiently given to us, it is up to us to co-operate and to wait on the Lord. He is faithful and He will see us through. When He is in our lives, we can be sure that no trial or tribulation can distract us enough to give up. No, we will persevere and that will lead to our being confident and even more trusting. Faith demands that, and so we can thank God for the gift of faith. Praise Him!