Elements of Vision (Part 7)
When our pilgrim forefathers stepped off the Mayflower onto American soil, little did they realize that half of their number would die within the next few months. But they were committed to a dream: birthing a land of religious freedom in the midst of a religiously intolerant world.
Of course, whenever God stirs vision in the heart of His people, there is always a price to pay for its fulfillment—and sometimes, that involves much more than we expect. Their rations got so low, for a period of time, the pilgrims were reduced to eating seven kernels of corn a day. But when many of them were dying, the dream was kept alive in their hearts, fueled by prayerfulness and passion for God. And the rest is history—how Squanto the Indian, knowledgeable of the English language (having spent time in England as a slave) befriended them and introduced them to Samasoet, the local Indian chief—and the first Thanksgiving was celebrated.
When we study this notable event in the formation of the United States, we learn some valuable spiritual lessons:
The value of pressure—the reason the pilgrims came to the new world was an attempt to escape the persecution they were suffering against their faith. Pressure like this is often used by God to push us into taking bold steps we otherwise might never make.
The power of divine involvement—looking at the huge population of the United States now and its influence in the world, it is hardly believable that all of this began with a handful of committed Christians in Massachusetts and a few other colonies. Great things often have small beginnings, for “Little is much if God is in it.”
The subtlety of divine guidance—Few know that the pilgrims were initially headed for Virginia where they had already contracted for a tract of land. But a fierce storm drove them ‘off-course,’ many miles up the Eastern seaboard. Little did they know, however, that the Indian tribes in Virginia had made up their minds to slaughter any settlers that set foot on their soil. Furthermore, the tribes up and down the coast had agreed to do the same. A plague had recently struck down the Indian tribe in the Plymouth Bay area, that was so swift and severe, other tribes felt it was the curse of God and would not re-inhabit the land. When the Plymouth Bay Company landed, unknown to them, they were settling in the only area on the coast where they could escape an Indian attack. Sometimes when we think we are ‘off-course,’ we may very well be ‘on-course,’ for there is a divine hand guiding us through life.
The danger of becoming comfortable in former victories—As the Plymouth Bay Colony developed, an unsettling event happened. The elected elders of the community decided to use some of the community’s funds to build a road three miles west into the wilderness. The people rose up against this decision and almost dismissed their leaders. They felt it would be a senseless waste of money. Besides, they would never need a road going three miles into the woods. Little did they know that one day there would be paved asphalt roads going three thousand miles to the west. After having such a bold vision to cross an ocean on an unseaworthy vessel, they could not see the need to go a few miles further. They lost their vision to advance to greater things. We must beware lest the same thing happen to us.
Think about these things as you chart your journey through life!