Summary: Throughout history, God has shown His love for His people by providing hope where there seemed to be no hope, salvation when it seemed that all was lost, & provision of every kind for those in need. (Powerpoints available - #314)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this sermon are available for free. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #314.)
Throughout history, God has shown His love by providing hope where there seemed to be no hope, salvation when it seemed that all was lost, & provision of every kind for those in need. For example, the early Pilgrims in America experienced God's special provision when it seemed that death might take them all.
ILL. Peter Marshall's book tells how the Pilgrims at Plymouth endured extreme hardships in America. Three long months at sea aboard the Mayflower & a brutal winter left them worn-out, hungry, & vulnerable to disease.
Their daily existence was a struggle. Their only barrier against the harsh New England weather was makeshift homes of branches & dried mud. Because they were not yet knowledgeable about their new environment, their gardens proved virtually fruitless. Food was precious & every meal was measured out carefully. And during their first winter here nearly half of them died.
But despite their hardships the Pilgrims continued to thank God, & daily asked for His strength to help them endure.
Then one Sunday morning, the Lord sent evidence that He had heard their prayers. Their service was interrupted by an unexpected guest, an Indian chief who saw their hopeless situation & returned with a helper named Squanto. Many have heard of the Pilgrim's landing & their hardships, but few are familiar with the story of Squanto.
You see, 12 years earlier, a group of English traders led by Captain Hunt had sailed to this area. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, Hunt took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, & sold them into slavery.
But God had a plan for one of the Indian slaves, a boy named Squanto. Squanto was bought by a Spanish monk who treated him well & taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually ended up in England, working in the stable of a man named John Slaney. Slaney befriended Squanto, & promised to put him on a ship back to America.
Finally, in 1619, a ship was found that would take him, & Squanto was homeward bound. But when he arrived, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out his entire village. We can only imagine what must have gone through his mind, "Why has God allowed me to return home, only to find everyone I love to be dead?"
A year later the answer came. A shipload of Pilgrims arrived & settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto's people. And that next spring, when Squanto was brought to meet them, he greeted the startled Pilgrims in English. Listen to these words from the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford:
"Squanto became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good...He showed [us] how to plant corn, where to take fish & to procure other commodities...& was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, & never left [us] till he died."
Who but God could so miraculously weave together the lives of a lonely, heart-broken Indian & a struggling band of English Pilgrims?