Maybe you, too, are hungry for more Thanksgiving in your life? Let's pick up the story from yesterday (from History.com):
In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
Did anything jump out in that story for you? There were a couple of things that amazed me:
- "They were greeted in English by an Abenaki Indian."
- "Several days later he returned with Squanto, who had been kidnapped...sold into slavery in London...escaped and returned to his homeland."
- "Squanto taught the Pilgrims...He also helped the settlers forge an alliance..."
- "Harmony between European colonists and Native Americans."
As Americans, we have watered down this Thanksgiving story to be convenient and nice. When we tell the story it goes more like this:
There were these people that wanted their own church so they got on a ship and sailed to America. The Indians greeted them and they had a huge party. They had turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin or pecan pie.I've certainly told the story in that way, haven't you? It seems, however, that we've missed a few crucial, important facts from the first Thanksgiving.
Like Squanto being kidnapped, brought to London so he could learn English, he somehow escaped and he made that trip across the ocean again, and the Pilgrims "just so happened" to land in the same location that Squanto lived so he could speak English to them while he helped them.
Squanto could've been angry about being kidnapped and having been sold as a slave. In his anger he could've fed each of those Pilgrims poisonous plants instead of teaching them to avoid the plants.
Today I see such a correlation between this story and Genesis 37. See, there was this man named Joseph. His own flesh and blood, his brothers, sold him to be a slave. But God had mercy and a big plan for Joseph. It wasn't an easy road for Joseph. He was accused and put in prison for things he did not do. He was forgotten. Yet he didn't get bitter or angry. After years in prison, favor is shown upon him and he gives God the glory. He uses the gifts that God has given him to bless someone that had persecuted him. He is then put in a position of authority and when his brothers come to him needing food that Joseph has power to give or withhold, he gives. He has no animosity.
Just like Squanto.
Do you have any Joseph or Sqanto-type situations in your life? Circumstances that seem not fair and way out of control?
I'll let God reveal it to you for yourself.
It just might be that there are circumstances that you and I think are horrendous and will bring nothing good of it. God can take those situations and turn them totally around for His good. He is great at that. Look at Joseph and look at Squanto.
May we be like Joseph in Genesis 45:1-8:
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God."