Learning to see God's Providence

Posted by James Hahn on

"I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me.  If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress." - Moses to God (Numbers 11:14-15)

As a homeschooling father of 8 children all I can say to Moses in response to this scripture passage is, "Amen!  Preach!"   in Insular Script would make a great tattoo.

Have you ever felt like Moses?  Have you ever felt like you are in charge of the biggest group of hungry, tired, complaining, needy, argumentative people in the world?  Are you trying to lead employees toward a goal but all they do is look for reasons it can't be done?  Are you in charge of volunteers who, when things are difficult, are quick to remind you that they are merely volunteers?  Are you responsible for a large family where it seems like no matter how hard you try it's never good enough?  If so, today's readings are for you and me.

On Saturday afternoon our 2006 Honda Pilot died as my wife was going to pick up our boys who were magnet fishing at the Lake.  I picked up a new battery and all seemed well until she called me Sunday evening on her way home from work to let me know the Pilot had died again.  As I prepared to go pick her up I began to fume and rage against God.  Why do you let these things happen to me, to us?  Why is life so dang difficult?  Where are you?  Do you even care?  I try so hard to listen to you, be faithful, to be a Godly man and this is how I'm treated!?  If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress!!  

After my temper tantrum the Lord reminded me of some things.  First, he had placed a commission in my path a few weeks before that would certainly cover nearly all of the repair bills.  No, he didn't drop a mechanic or load of bills in my lap when the first signs of distress began to form.  Rather, He had provided for this bump in the road long before we hit it.  He also reminded me that my oldest son would not be working during the coming week because he would be at a camp for college.  This too was providence in advance so that we would have a vehicle free while another was in the shop.

Moses' help came in the form of 70 others who would share the burden with him.  I wonder if God had this planned too, long in advance but He was waiting on Moses to ask.  God provided not only the food that the complainers were asking for but did so in abundance.  God not only provided the help that Moses was asking for but did so in abundance.  God not only provided the help I was asking for but did so in abundance and in advance of my need and asking.

In the Gospel today we read of more need, more people, more hunger, more complaining.  I can imagine myself there by Jesus on the shore late in the evening with all of these thousands of people around.  The disciples are tired, the children are getting hungry and complaining to their mothers.  The mothers are tugging on the men's tunics telling them it's time to go home.  Rather than dismiss the crowds, Jesus suggests that the disciples provide food for everyone.  I can almost hear the disciples muttering the "prayer of Moses"!  Yet once again, God provides.  Like the Old Testament story, God provides food for the people and does so in abundance.  They ate.  They were satisfied.  They had leftovers.  God provided, once again.

God always provides.  It's not always the way I imagine.  It's not always the timing I imagine.  Yet, somehow, someway, He always provides.  As I was reading the readings for today I was struck by the Responsorial Psalm and how out of place it seemed, "Sing with joy to God our help."  Now, after having taken the time to really dive into both readings and with the help of grace, understand them in my own life, I too cry out, "Sing with joy to God our help...Israel I would feed with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them."  Honey from the rock?  God's ways are not our ways, but He always provides.

"Being faithful to God demands a struggle.  And it means close combat, man to man - the old man against the man of God - in one small thing after another, without giving in." - St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow #125

How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen!
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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