The early Pilgrims lost most of what they knew and many whom they loved in their pursuit of liberty and justice for themselves and their posterity. They fled a country that stole from their labor to give to others’ leisure. A country that forbade them from their conscience. That sought domination of their every word and thought.
The first Thanksgiving harvest feast in the New World was a testament to God’s grace through it all. He sustained them in their loss, healed their sicknesses, worked through indigenous peoples to teach them the ways of this harsh, but bountiful new land. Having seen His providence (through, some would argue, his judgment), they rejoiced at His gracious sovereignty.
We read a gratitude example in 1 Samuel 7:12, when the prophet led the Israelites to memorialize the Lord’s providence.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
The place where the Ebenezer was erected was between Mizpah (protection/blessing) and Shen (judgment/3-pronged flesh hook). The Lord sustains us through all.
Today, as in days past, man’s own inhumanity to man is once again on the rise. Evil runs rampant and man races to justify it. The “New Molechians” once again lash out in their attempt to overcome civilization with violence and to drag humanity back to caves of fear and poverty.
Yet here, although we struggle more to pay bills than in years past, and though the blessings of America may prove tenuous at this time, we give thanks to the One in whom we live and move and have our being, whatever befalls us. I have spent my life fighting for the values I learned in church pews, knowing it was God Who brought me through each battle.
Thanksgiving 2023 represents an opportunity for us to exhibit defiant gratitude to the Lord Who sustains us in all things.
“Thus far, the Lord has helped us.”