Being A Son Of God • by MIKE GOLDSMITH
AS I ARRIVED AT THE MEN'S WEEKEND AT WOLDINGHAM feeling absolutely wiped out I was aware of how stress and overwork, mostly business related, was having a negative impact on my marriage, my family life and hence my spiritual life. On the Friday evening, the speaker, the Anglican Bishop Graham Dow, said: "Position in life, and pride, are both the work of the devil, dignity is gained through being a son of God. "
'I suddenly realised that my lifestyle was risking all that was dear to me. I broke down in tears and cried out to God for help'
It hit me that for nearly three years I had been unhappy with the way my business was going. Profits were never a problem, but staff problems and, for a year, a merger that failed had taken their toll on me. I often said to my wife how much I missed having peers, missed the camaraderie of the Rugby club for which I had played, and missed the position that these brought.
Over the Men’s Weekend God showed me something that needed me to reflect back a few years. When my Dad was dying, about eight years ago and after twelve years of strokes, he eventually went into a coma for three months which he never came out of. I was with him when he died, and was able to weep and grieve openly at his funeral, which was a great help. My father wasn’t perfect by any means, and I have been able to forgive all the shortcomings in our relationship. However, it was during the time that he was in the coma that I kept thinking there must be more to life than success in business, money, cars and houses, but I did not know what.
I cried out to God for help
When I rang Maureen after Mass she could hardly believe that her prayers had been answered. On the previous Thursday evening she had taken me to her local prayer group where the forty or so Christians there met with one of the member’s partners for whom they had been praying over the past year and a half – namely me! As part of the New Life in the Spirit course they were running I formally, rather more soberly, asked for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I had begun the most important and exciting journey of my life.
A few months I attended the family conference Celebrate with my wife and children. While there one of the priests gave a talk on "the practicalities of the resurrection" which led into the Eucharist. I fell sideways, sobbing into my wife’s lap. It was as though God had fired an arrow into my heart from the mouth of the priest. I felt the following sense in my heart "I must become a Catholic in order to share fully in the sacraments of the Catholic Church". My Mum and wife, both cradle Catholics, were overjoyed having prayed for me over many years, as were the many others at the local prayer group, and others that Maureen had roped in to pray. I became a Catholic the following Easter 1995, accepting the various doctrines and theology of the Church as best as I could in so short a time.
I needed to forgive…
I continued to walk with God and a couple of years later found myself at a Men’s Weekend at Woldingham Park. Bob Gallic spoke on Men loved by God. God revealed to me that I had not forgiven my grandfather for abandoning my father when his mother died very young. My grandfather remarried and moved away, giving my own father to his grandmother and three brothers to an aunt.
"My dignity is gained through being a son of God"
I was praying with others shortly after the talk, and found it extremely difficult as men were coming for ministry for similar things to that which had just been revealed to me, it happened so quickly that I did not think of pulling out. During the time of prayer, however, I was able to offer to a brother that perhaps it was time to move his love for his father and Father God from his head to his heart in order to fully express and experience that love. At the end, my prayer partner prayed for my forgiveness over grandad, and I felt a profound release!
During the rest of the weekend, many things began to click into place. I was reminded that "From my head to my heart, shoulder to shoulder, I belong to God" as taught taught me by my three year old daughter, Rachel.
A video clip was shown on the Eucharist just before the Mass, and I realised that for five years I had often thought that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was a bit over the top, and had recently been having increasingly heated debates with my wife about the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Then the words dawned on me that I had sensed six years previously which had not yet been fulfilled: "I must become a Catholic in order to share fully in the sacraments of the Catholic Church". I realised I was not sharing fully.
From my head to my heart
Suddenly, but gently, God revealed to me that five years earlier at confirmation, I had indeed accepted that vital truth, but only in my head. I sensed God saying to me "Mike, you told a guy yesterday that he needed to move his love for his Dad from his head to his heart,;it is time for you to do the same about the true presence of Jesus in the bread & the wine".
I then saw the truth - it was right there under my nose. I believed and I knew in my heart!!
I wanted to jump up and down and run down and hug the Eucharist. I was absolutely bursting with joy, but realised it was a special time just between Jesus and me. The Eucharist was not the place for such a public display!. However, I dissolved into tears of joy and relief as soon as I regained my seat.
On the Saturday evening, during the small group time, I asked for prayer that God would install Himself as Chief Exec of my company, Transform. For three years I had based so much of my dignity on pride and position in life on secular things. This weekend convicted me that, as Bishop Dow had said on the Friday evening: "My dignity is gained through being a Son of God".
With God now installed as Chief Exec, I am really enjoying work again, and see much more of the family, taking days off for important family time and other work for the Lord, making up at other times when necessary, having taken Bob's advice of not just quitting as he did.
The good times and the blessings roll on. Alleluia!