“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Colossians 3:15 (NIV UK)
At the end of November, Americans celebrate a day of Thanksgiving, remembering when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, and after enduring a difficult trans-Atlantic voyage almost half of the colonists died in the first year. Those who survived faced horrible disease and extreme weather. But in November 1621, William Bradford declared a Harvest Feast to give thanks to God and celebrate all that he had done for them.
What did these Pilgrims have to give thanks for? Starvation, death and disease? That doesn’t sound like God’s providence to me. But William Bradford saw things differently. He put his faith in God, knowing that only by trusting in him would the Pilgrims be saved. Over that next year, Bradford’s faith was rewarded. It just so happened that a native American named Squanto lived nearby. Squanto, having been captured by an English adventurer and sold into slavery in Spain, spoke English. And it was through his help that the Pilgrims were able to plant crops in a way that was suited for the climate of the New World, and also to forge a lasting peace with the neighbouring Wampanoag tribe.
You see, even in our most difficult trials and tribulations, we know that Christ is with us. He has promised to work all things together for good. And we see that in this story. Out of all the inlets and bays in the East Coast of America, the Pilgrims chose the one where a Native American already spoke their language. And it was through this relationship between William Bradford and Squanto that God brought healing to this group. God is always working, even through our pain, actively redeeming our hurt to bring us closer to him. And when we choose to follow Christ, we can trust that he will bring us through the darkness and into a new life in him.
Although in the UK there is not a national day of thanksgiving, as a Christian principle, we should be thankful day by day for how God cares for us.
Faithful Father, even in our worst trials help us to learn to trust you, to maintain our faith in you, and to strengthen that faith day by day. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
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