It's that time of year again. Where I am teaching first graders silly songs about turkeys, helping them memorize the ABC's of thanksgiving poetry, and designing and decorating costumes for the thanksgiving play. (Just an aside for those of you who enjoy laughing at/with me- today I was practicing one of the songs and became so off key that I gave up entirely and moved on to another activity.) As we learn about the Pilgrims and Native Americans and the first Thanksgiving, I am always amazed to see how God provided. I remember the first year that I was reading to the kids and discussing the events of 1620, and it all connected with me about just how precisely God took care of those early settlers.
If you have never played connect the dots here it is for you. The best I remember it without my books handy to double check my facts.
Pilgrims: seeking religious freedom, leave England, sailing for America. Storm at sea blows them off course and they land WAY north of their intended destination - at some place called Plymouth. They meet a Native, who happens to speak English and teaches them the necessary survival skills for living in their environment so that they do not all perish in their new land. Remember that this is the part of the country that years later argued for our freedom of religion in the bill of rights.
Squanto: many years earlier is captured and taken into slavery, during which he learns English. Years later when he is freed and returns to his former home, his entire village has been destroyed. He hooks up with some locals and lives happily until one day when a ship lands on his beach. Then he finds it in the goodness of his heart to assist these poor white men learn survival skills. God's getting ready to use his painful past to change the world.
So - here's what had to happen - Native sold into slavery, learns English. Ship blown way off course to ensure that Pilgrims land in a place where there is assistance - from someone who speaks their language. What are the chances of making a wrong turn and ending up exactly where you need to be?
I was thinking today about this. Many years ago, I'm pretty sure that I made a wrong turn. However, it seems to have landed me exactly where I need to be at this particular moment in my life. So even though I am fairly uncertain about where my future lies, I am glad to know that I serve a God who has the ability to unite one of the only English speaking Natives in an untamed land with a group of people blown miles off course so that his purposes would be fulfilled. I am excited that my future is being held in such capable hands.