Thursday, November 26, 2020

God intended it for good

This is probably the worst Thanksgiving my family has had. All the family but my youngest are in other states, and "quarantined." Even my youngest son's girlfriend is quarantined, and so our family celebration consists of three people and a telephone. And yet it may be the best Thanksgiving my family has had. A reminder to be thankful for the blessings that we have, and to hold God above all things in our lives. It has given me an opportunity to reflect more on grace and blessing, and on God's word.

And so here is my Thanksgiving reflection for this year. Recall the story of Joseph in the Bible, in Genesis 37-50. Joseph is sold into slavery by his own brothers, and is taken to a foreign land (Egypt). There he works his way to a position of importance, and eventually is able to save not only Egypt but the lands around, including his own people, from starvation when a famine occurs. The story ends with him being reunited with his brothers and forgiving them, saying (Gen 50:19-20):

“Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” 

Of course, Joseph is a prefigurement of Christ, who "empties Himself, becoming a slave" and through His suffering, many are saved. But that happened 2,000 years ago.

Recall the story of the first Thanksgiving. The Puritans had arrived at Plymouth and nearly half of them had died that first year. They did not know how to handle the unique challenges of the new world. A different climate, soil, wildlife, plants all were different. The only thing that pulled them through was help from the natives, especially Squanto. Squanto was able to help them because he spoke perfect English and understood their needs and culture. How did this come about?

Many years before, Squanto was sold into slavery, and taken to a foreign land (Spain). There his freedom was purchased by Franciscans, who taught him the Catholic faith, into which he was Baptized. They later brought him to England, where he learned the language and customs, and where he worked his way to a position of importance, and eventually bought himself passage back to America. He then became the means by which the Puritan settlers were saved.

Just as in the story of Joseph, and others, Squanto's story shows how God brings good even out of evil, so that many may be saved. I have no doubt that in His wisdom and mercy, God is doing the same for us today.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have given me; for family, friends, my health, prosperity, liberty, and most importantly the ability to know You and love You. I do not see the good in all things, and I complain day to day, but I have hope in Your mercy and firm faith that you will use this, as You do all things, for good.

May God bless you all on this unusual and trying Thanksgiving day!


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