Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From Beginning to End, Give Thanks

By Brenda Black

For 66 days, the 102 brave and sea weary sojourners rolled and plummeted across tumultuous waters to reach their destination. By the time their little boat docked, most were too sick or afraid to step from the wooden planks of the Mayflower and face the bitter winds awaiting them ashore. Only half survived that first winter in 1620. Those who surfaced from the hull, stepped onto the land weak, ill and malnourished. They needed shelter, food and a friend.

God sent Squanto. A member of the Pawtuxet tribe, he set to work teaching the pale Europeans how to cultivate corn, draw sap from the plentiful maples, catch fish from the rivers and recognize edible and toxic plant species that covered this new land. Squanto then acted as social director and introduced the settlers to the local Wampanoag tribe.

The Pilgrims and Natives gave thanks for three days solid at a feast the following November, celebrating their new friends and abundant harvest. God provided for their needs. God proliferated their efforts. God propelled people into relationship. After 392 years, He's still at it!

So far removed from our nation's early history, even farther from the very beginning of time, we easily forget that the Lord began His work of provision on the first day of creation. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The birth of a new country far down the timeline of human history is rendered completely impossible had God not started the process before time began. 

We get so arrogant and self important that somehow we forget that America is a gift from God! Every blade of grass, each floating cloud, every single drop of water and molecule of oxygen God spoke into existence. We did not! The land we plow, the food we consume, the comfort we know is miraculous and graciously imparted from the Creator Himself.

From that dawning moment until today, God for some reason still pursues people. Though we've forsaken Him, mocked Him, killed His Holy Son and turned our backs on Him, He reaches down through time and space and still blesses the planet and our little place on it. Give thanks!

His creative compassion and desire to connect with His creation is not just part of history. It is not just for the contemporary. God continues to provide and plead with us into eternity.

“'I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.'

“The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:16-17) We are most blessed that His hand remains steady and His heart faithful to mankind, from beginning to end.

The Lord provided the seed for every living thing. He alone caused the increase. And we are favored with His presence and the fellowship of His people. Seems like plenty for which to be thankful!

You may feel a little storm tossed and weary. You may feel like one of a shrinking remnant who still has faith to step off the boat and trust in God to show you the way. You may feel sick of this bitter and cold world, with residents malnourished by the disease of sin. But take heart, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

“The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:1-16 selected)

A new earth. A new country. A new covenant. A new connection with the God who was and is and is to come. Give thanks!

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