Pop Pop Epistle #20: About Squanto
Thanksgiving 2017 is over. It was awesome to have most of you in our home for several days to eat together and play together and just be together. We muchly missed Asher who was with her other grandparents and we daily await the arrival of grand-baby girl #2 who is now officially past her due date.
Perhaps this is a good time for a little lesson in history – the story of Squanto. This is how Charles Colson tells his story…
Historical accounts of Squanto’s life vary, but historians believe that around 1608, more than a decade before the Pilgrims landed in the New World, a group of English traders, led by a Captain Hunt, sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, Hunt took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery.
But God had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indian – a boy named Squanto.
Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stable of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.
It wasn’t until 1619, ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped, that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.
But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village.
We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto’s mind. Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?
A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.
According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died.”
When Squanto lay dying of a fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend “desired the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.” Squanto bequeathed his possessions to his English friends “as remembrances of his love.”
Who but God could so miraculously weave together the lives of a lonely Indian and a struggling band of Englishmen? It’s hard not to make comparisons with the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good.
The Bible tells us that everyone has been sold into slavery, having been captured by the evil one because of our sinful nature. But Christ the Redeemer sets us free because of what He accomplished on the cross on our behalf. When we put our faith and our trust in Him Christ redeems us – He sets us free. And just as He did with Squanto He can use us as special instruments for good.
So never forget that the Lord has special purposes for you – He desires to use you to bring about good in the lives of others, to bless this world that has been captured by the evil one, and to be a redeeming influence among a people that do not even know that they are enslaved.
And never ever forget that you are very loved!