Thanksgiving. Pioneers. Funny-looking clothes. Religious fuddy-duddies. Overcomers. Whatever comes to mind when people hear Pilgrim, one word stands out—if the Pilgrims were anything, they were perseverers. They possessed a perseverance rare in today’s culture.
They joined together in 16th century England when people could be burned at the stake for possessing a Bible. Forced underground for fear of being condemned for treason, they planned to escape England in order to freely pursue their faith. By the time the Mayflower set sail in 1620, the Pilgrims had encountered one slammed door after another. Their first attempt at escape had resulted in getting caught and thrown into prison. The second attempt took them to Holland where they spent twelve years in abject poverty. When they finally boarded for America, one of their vessels sprung a leak. This meant a number of them were forced to abandon their dream while the remaining 102 passengers crammed into the Mayflower.
Conditions of the voyage were deplorable. But the situation when they landed in Plymouth was not much better. Within three months, the harsh winter would take almost half of these brave folks. Yet when given the opportunity to go back to England on the returning ship, not one Pilgrim said yes.
What about those Pilgrims?
What made them so brave and uncompromising? They believed they had a call from God. When circumstances turned for the worse—time and time again—they didn’t throw in the towel and consider their hardships as a sign from Him to turn back. They persevered because they were convinced that in the long haul God would bless them…as well as the land they were seeking for His glory.
Perhaps this Thanksgiving we would be wise to remember our forefathers, the Pilgrims. To be grateful for all the sacrifices they made to establish a country where freedom to worship God would be at its very core. To be inspired by their unconquerable persevering spirit, and not give up so easily when things turn bad.
I don’t know what personal challenges you are facing right now. I do believe that as a country, many tests await us in the days to come. I pray that the same love for God, family and freedom that so distinguished the Pilgrims would rise in us. And that we, too, would learn to persevere.