There was a little boy of 9 years old, named Peter, who wanted to learn to rollerblade. He had seen his neighbours having so much fun in the park rollerblading and he wanted to join them. He went up to his dad one morning and asked him to buy him a pair of rollerblades but his dad, wanting Peter to learn responsibility, gave him an empty piggy bank instead. He told his son, "Peter, you can join the kids at the park and I will even teach you to rollerblade. But I want you to learn to save up for the things you want to buy. I don't want to spoil you by giving you everything you want. From today, you will start putting in 50 cents from your pocket money into this piggy bank everyday. When you have saved up enough money, we will go to the store to buy the blades that you want."
Peter went away with mixed feelings. He was happy that his dad had allowed him to buy the rollerblades and would even teach him to rollerblade. However, as he flipped his calendar and counted the number of days it would take him to save up $120, he felt discouraged that it would take him about 8 months with 50 cents each day. It was far too long a wait and his dream seemed too distant. But he began saving anyway.
After school everyday, Peter eagerly dropped his 50 cents into his piggy bank, and he delighted in seeing it fill up more and more. On some days, when he had more pocket money left, he would drop in the extras. But what Peter did not know was that his dad had secretly added 50 cents each day to his piggy bank too. His dad knew that Peter would take a long time to save up for the pair of rollerblades and seeing how committed and responsible his son was, he wanted to lend a hand to make his dream come true earlier.
Four months later, Peter's dad asked Peter to bring his piggy bank to the table. They emptied it out and counted the coins. Peter's face lit up when they totalled up the money to $134! He could not believe it because he was expecting to take 8 months to arrive at that amount, not 4. Then, Peter's dad confessed that he had topped up another 50 cents each day. Peter was overjoyed. And off they went to the skate shop.
Last month, in my silent retreat, I was contemplating on the holy family's flee to Egypt to escape from Herod who wanted to kill baby Jesus. The most striking realisation was how God did not leave Joseph to fend for his family with his own strength and capabilities. God sent His angel to warn Joseph of the impending danger and directed him to bring his family to safety. If He had not, Joseph would not have known early enough of Herod's plans, given that he had no strings to pull nor money to bribe. The only way that Joseph could fulfil his life mission as Jesus's foster father and the protector of the holy family was in the heavenly Father's divine providence.
God Himself gives us what we need in order for us to fulfil the mission we have said 'yes' to. God is like and far more than Peter's dad who works behind the scenes, most of the time beyond our knowledge, to help us along the way. He knows fully well how lacking we are and the only result we are capable of is failure. And out of His great love for us, especially when we are carrying out the will He has called us to, He Himself aids us in the completion of that will. He never leaves us on our own. He never puts a task on our shoulders so that He can go on a vacation only to return thereafter to demand our good result. Such is the faithful and loving God we see across the old to the new testament.
Might there be something you are struggling with right now? Something that you are trying to do out of your love for God but finding that failure is the only constant result?
How might God be, through the stories of Peter and Joseph, inviting you to a deeper trust in His loving providence?
How is God also sending you His angel to give you directions?
Then an angel appeared to him (Jesus), coming from heaven to give him strength.
We know that by turning everything to their good God cooperates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose.