“Drive out that slave and her son!” —Genesis 21:10
God promised Abraham a son so that he would be the father of nations (Gn 15:4ff). However, Abraham and Sarah were getting very old, and God’s promise seemingly wasn’t coming to pass. So Sarah took control and gave Abraham her maid Hagar as a surrogate mother. “Hagar bore him Ishmael” (Gn 16:16). Years later, God’s perfect timing arrived, and Sarah conceived and bore Isaac. God “did for her as He had promised” (Gn 21:1). Yet a great deal of human suffering and injustice occurred in Abraham’s family because Sarah and Abraham jumped ahead of God and took control away from Him. In His mercy, God turned some of the family problems to the good (Rm 8:28), but many future problems have arisen because of this rift between Sarah and Hagar. We pray that one glorious day Abraham’s modern-day descendants will be fully reconciled.
The Israelites didn’t learn the lesson. God miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt. Then He planned for them to march into the promised land and seize it (Nm 13:2ff). However, the Israelites feared the inhabitants of the promised land more than they feared the God Who led them through the Red Sea. They lagged behind God, and wouldn’t enter the land. As a consequence of this rebellious fear, they wandered forty years in the desert (Nm 14:32-34). Hoping to avoid this fate, some switched from lagging behind God to jumping ahead of Him. They invaded the promised land and were routed (Nm 14:39-45).
God’s timing is perfect; we are imperfect. Be in sync with God by attentively listening to Him each day. Let His will be done in your life, and He will direct you perfectly (Is 30:21).
Prayer: Father, I know how easily I can disrupt Your plans, but I trust even more that You will lead me in straight paths (Ps 23:3).
Promise: “Nought is lacking to those who fear Him.” —Ps 34:10
Praise: St. Anthony healed both body and soul as doctor.

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