“Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:24-25 NKJV
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Native American friends shared a meal that inspired what became America’s annual “Thanksgiving” celebration. (It only became an official holiday after a declaration by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.)
Looking back, the pilgrims certainly had much for which to be thankful. They had endured persecution and opposition in their native England. In spite of relatively few resources, they had made the bold move to step out in faith to relocate to America.
They knew that this destination was filled with dangers and unknowns, but still elected to go. They managed to secure two ships for the journey. But after heading out to sea, the Speedwell, proved to be unsafe. These pilgrims had to reduce the numbers going to America, with everyone crowding on one ship, the Mayflower. It was to prove a very unpleasant experience.
As authors Peter Marshall and David Manuel describe, it was an environment of unrelenting “heat and the pressure.” These pilgrims “huddled in the lantern-lit darkness” below the deck. Because of “continuous storms,” no hatches could be opened. Small children cried constantly and there were no opportunities to cook meals. For seven weeks, they endured this “ill-lighted, rolling, pitching, stinking inferno.”
In these horrible conditions, the pilgrims often turned to God. “No matter how ill they felt, or how grim the daily situation, they continued to seek God together, praying through despair and into peace and thanksgiving.”
They faced new problems after arriving in America, but they continued to be thankful and grateful for God’s protection and blessing.
This is the spirit of thanksgiving. Giving thanks to God in all conditions. Praising Him. Trusting Him.
PrayerFather, thank You for all that You have done for me. Thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for forgiving my sins. Thank You for eternal life. I am so grateful! In Jesus’ name. Amen. Pray that the Inspiration Ministries’ staff would be filled with a spirit of thanksgiving!
Extended ReadingActs 16