When the Pilgrims left England, they left with hope, not a promise. They knew there was a new world waiting for them, and between them and the new world was a very long journey. The foreign land would not be the England they left behind, but it offered the hope of practicing their religion without restraint or persecution. There were 102 passengers and 30 crew who set sail and landed in Plymouth. The original plan was to take two ships, but one ship was left behind due to complications. As a result, they left with scarce supplies. After a 10-week journey across the ocean, these sojourners landed in Plymouth.
These Christians had a hope. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The pilgrims stepped out in faith, leaving all they knew for what they hoped. As a result of their faith, they crossed the Atlantic to find what they’d hoped for.
Their story sounds rosy to this point, but we know that half of the 132 people who landed in Plymouth died in the first winter due to the harsh weather and inadequate supplies. Looking at the story from that perspective, you could believe that the settlement was a miserable failure. But that group of people weakened by the winter found a way to make a life from their treacherous beginnings. They partnered with the native Americans, learned about their surroundings, and created a successful colony in the new world.
Without a doubt, the Pilgrims must have wondered how their plan, borne from a need for a religious respite, could have resulted in so much heartache. But that didn’t stop them; they kept the faith.
It’s been said that faith isn’t about everything turning out okay. Faith is being okay no matter how things turn out. This year may have been a trying one for you, but like pilgrims on a journey, we must keep the faith. As you enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday, give thanks for what you have, for the hope of what’s to come, for your faith, and for the resilience that helps us to be okay regardless of how things turn out.
– TH –