Exactly 400 years ago, 103 passengers on the Mayflower were experiencing a time of uncertainty. They left with strong faith and resolution from Holland and England on a wooden sailing ship to start a new life in what many considered the promised land. Children, teenagers, families, and singles were all in the makeup of the passenger list and were excited to arrive after a long and dangerous sailing of 60 days. A New England winter had set in on their arrival to the Plymouth shore, supplies were low, conditions to live were crowded and certainly painfully difficult as the ship weighed anchor in the harbor and waited until spring. Deaths begin to occur from the elements, illness, and lack of a proper diet at a rate of one every other day. About one-half of the original passengers survived and were able to see the day of departure from the ship in late March 1621. No doubt, uncertainty was a cloud that hovered over the survivors as they began taking root in the promised land. It would be less than 9 months later, however that these new citizens of America gave thanks and grace as they celebrated God’s provision of harvest, protection and blessing—-all in the midst of uncertainty.
Joseph and Mary left for Egypt in a time of uncertainty. They had just been told to pack up and leave because the King of their land had sent soldiers to kill their first born son. Can you imagine? What would you do if told to leave Arkansas, and that by a dream, because the Governor was sending armed soldiers to kill your first born? Uncertainty, stress, fear of the unknown—-all of these emotions and more would fill your mind upon receiving this news. No one to call in Egypt, no road map of where to go. Just faithful trust and obedience to their creator is all the young family had to offer.
We are in uncertain times as we begin 2021 to say the least. Now uncertainty should not breed pessimism. Uncertainty should not make us negative. The Pandemic that struck our world in 2020 is uncertain. The new government taking control of D.C. for 2021 is uncertain. The rising national debt is uncertain. However, America came to be in spite of uncertain beginnings. Jesus came to be and the plan of salvation came to be in spite of an uncertain beginning. We must resolve to place our trust and hope completely in the man who walked on water, in the man who healed the blind, in the man who fed 5,000, in the man who raised people from the dead, in the man who conquered death victoriously as he rose from the grave on the third day. Let the Ancient Words speak:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Jas 1:2-4
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1Pe 1:6-7
For neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Pro 3:5-6
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]