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Celebrating the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
November 26, 2020 5:00 am

Celebrating the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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November 26, 2020 5:00 am

Author Eric Metaxas tells the incredible story of the history of Thanksgiving, focusing on Squanto, a Native American man of faith who was called by God to help the Pilgrims in their hardships. (Original airdate: Nov. 24, 2016)

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Finding trust and faith building payment for your kids is easy with the adventures in Odyssey club. It's an online community with almost every episode ever Focus on the Family clubhouse magazine is a auto In the case of Squanto.

Sometimes he gives us stories from history to show us. Look, I am faithful. You may not see it every single time. But I want you to know unfaithfulness is such a crazy story.

I don't know what other moral you can pull from it except God is real happy Thanksgiving from Focus on the Family that's Erickson Texas reflecting about how God works through people all through history to accomplish his purposes, and our host today is focus president and author Jim Daly I'm John felt that today John's one of my favorite days of the year because the first of all you get to eat always a good turkey is so good with gravy is in the watch a little football maybe a lot of football too much football but most importantly spending time together with family. I love Jean's tradition where we go around the table. I'm sure many of you do the same thing, which is to say what you thankful for.

We teased Jean about it, but she rolls with the punch and we do it we discover in the table to hear Trenton Troy give an idea of what they're most thankful for. In the past year is really rewarding as a parent I know you're going to be celebrating with your family and friends and we want to take a look back at a great story that is directly related to Thanksgiving. It's part of our history and it's the story of Squanto and the reason this story is important to all of us is because of the way God worked in his life at an early age well before the first Thanksgiving ever happened and I am so impressed with that story. I didn't know what John until I heard the story written by our guest Erica Texas and Eric is a radio host.

He's a popular speaker and the author of a number of books including one for children called Squanto in the miracle of Thanksgiving, Eric. It's great to have you back at Focus on the Family. It's always a pleasure to hang out with you guys. Thanks for having me Eric you love history that comes out in all the work that you do with your books your biographies those things wise Squanto.

What caught your attention with Squanto that you said this is someone I need to write about.

Honestly, I'll never forget this. This a long time ago. This was about 1991 or 1990 I was working for company called rabbit ears productions. They produce all these kids stories just a wonderful time in my life and somebody said what to do these stories on America folktales Paul Bunyan, whatever have you heard a story Squanto I never heard of the story.

Squanto what Squanto is it all yeah he's the one that helped the pilgrims plant corn and you know put the fish in with the corn so that it provided fertilizer and you know yeah the Tolstoy Squanto. So is it okay if I go to the library and I look up the story of Squanto, and that's pretty much if anybody's ever heard of Squanto.

That's what they are taught in school right right comes out of the woods and he helps the pilgrims that's all we know right well I start reading the story and is only children's books on him and boring like I don't really get it and then I start reading the original documents. Now, the original documents were talking about, you know, 16, 21, Gov. William Bradford of the Plymouth colony wrote his memoirs's journal's diary and it is a couple of documents that refer to Squanto and I realize, oh, they all got their information to write easily children's books and stuff from this. This is all we know about Squanto's eye release of the documents my piece a story together like my hair stands on and I say how come nobody is noticed when I'm noticing right now and what I'm noticing is that the story of Squanto is one of the freakiest miracles in history. It doesn't make any sense, but then you read through it over and over and over and you go. This is what happened, why is nobody recognizing this as a crazy miracle of God. It is just an outrageous story inside focus miracle yeah latte the start out as they got say the story but it's so crazy and obviously I put it in my if you can keep it but because I want to inspire people to say that God has had his hand on this country. Whether you like it or not, God has blessed America and called America into existence for his purposes. Not to say, hey, you're great. I love you not know he blesses you to be a blessing in America has been blessed by God outrageously to be a blessing to the rest of the world and to history and so the story is basically this and you have to listen carefully to the details because this is so nuts. Basically nobody had come to know when I say North America I I'm saying no Massachusetts, Virginia, whatever, willingly, and we all know that young 1607 they went to the Virginia colony that didn't go so well. There are some problems there. Whatever. But in 1620.

Some ship called the Mayflower with, you know, a group of 100 religious dissidents right come across and they there what we call the pilgrims they land they go to hell. 50% of them die. That's like one of the statistics it means nothing. Think about it and that you and your family and some other families are going to go on a trip, because God has led you to do this in half of you get sick and die, and you bury each other. It's like out of one of the darkest tales of history of Lake so we know about that, but we don't know is what happened before, 16, 20, and this is what shocked me. I had no clue is that just because the pilgrims are the first ones to settle their they were not the first ones to travel there. There had been a number of trading ships from England that would come down you know maybe that hit Greenland or Iceland. They go to Newfoundland they come down the coast to what is main and all the way down Massachusetts they would trade with the Native Americans they would come down to the shore and they would trade them you know whether it's pots and pans for beads are beaver pelts aware that there had been trading that was going on but nobody had settled so is only these crazy pilgrims that come from, you know, they were obviously persecuted for their faith in England, but they went to Holland to escape the persecution and then there in Holland for a few years and they say this is not working out.

Our kids are becoming Dutch were to go across the Atlantic. So they go across the Atlantic in 1620, and they settle but as I say, it's what happened before that that makes the story understandable and here's what happened in about 1608 12 years before the pilgrims come one of these trading ships led by a Capt. Hunt is coming down the main coast to what's today Massachusetts to trade okay and again there been a number of these, but this was one that happened around 1608 and Capt. Hunt was a wicked man. He and I'm sure many other of these wicked traders, but were not just interested in getting beaver pelts and things they said you know what we can make money if we can kidnap some of these young Native Americans throw them in the hold of the ship drag him across the Atlantic and sell them as slaves, won't we make a lot more money a slave is not illegal. Let's make some money so they land the ship in 1608 the trusting Indians come down.

By the way, this is right where Plymouth Massachusetts is today, so it was the Patuxent tribe.

They come down and as I said John Hunt. This wicked captain they you know it him over the head, whatever they drag them on the Longboat throw them in the hold of the ship take them across the Atlantic and sell them at a high profit in Mollica Spain and there's no real record small record but we don't know the number. Native Americans are actually tailored in the slave know it's complicated, and even the story has some things or people aren't clear on but the stuff I'm talking about is we know for sure okay so one of these braves is a 12-year-old named this quantum now where the story gets insane is that this quantum is bought by fryers by monks, who by all accounts, treated him very well. We know if they rescued him or they just bought him and treated him well. We don't know but he learns the Christian faith, and then somehow they conspire to figure out can we get him back to his people now can you imagine what were talking about paying 1611 1612 and were talking, but you're in Spain at 6 AM stranded on the moon. When's the next bus heading back to earth.

There ain't no bus like what were you talking about, there's no railroad or flights or the year in Europe and it 1612 they somehow felt if we can get him back to London.

There are trading ships. Maybe we can connect them with one of these trading ships to get back home. I mean, the odds against this are like one in a billion. But somehow after five years he gets to London.

He works for a family as a stable hand.

So imagine this this Indian whose come from what's Plymouth is now in the England of Shakespeare and whatever he learns perfect English and everything is working there waiting for an opportunity to get a ship back so it's the years, probably 16. I'm guessing 1618 is the year that they finally find a ship that needs a translator so this quantum is now this young man. He is picked, and for passage across, he's gonna be the translator. Whatever. So I think they winter in Iceland or something and then they go down to the coast and when they get to Patuxent which is the southern part of Massachusetts to go hey this is where you wanted to go. You're done. Goodbye thank you very much. This is your bus stop you get off the bus he gets off the bus and he runs through the woods after not just imagine he's learned the Christian faith. He speaks English 10 years he's been longing to return home. He gets home there's nobody there. The village is empty where he grew up he goes to a neighboring tribe and finds out that some kind of a plague epidemic.

Probably smallpox wiped out all of his people is like one or two left in their living with the neighboring tribe. So it's kind like we can think well we care he's back with the Indians on his tribe was dead.

The neighboring tribe was as foreign to him as the English so eliciting for little while. Then he goes off to live in the woods alone. This is so heartbreaking and strange well while he is there, wondering what has God done with my life.

Why would God allow me to come all the way back against the odds for nothing. At the same time a group of Puritans called the pilgrims land the Mayflower on what is today Plymouth. But in those days was Patuxent the very place with this young man had grown up. We know that they go to the winter.

We know that they die like flies. They are crying out to God, Lord, how could you lead us to this place. We know you let us, but were dying like flies and frankly they were planning to go back because they're not succeeding will, in the spring out of the woods walks in Indian named Squanto a he's led there by a Somerset who'd been talking with the pilgrims and he speaks perfect in the imagine your submission is the pilgrims there stranded on this. You know there all alone there dying in Indian comes out the woods basically says I speak perfect English. I have been in London. More recently than you have and where you have settled is where I grew up and I know everything that is necessary about how to plant crops about where to fish where to get lobsters how to get deals out of the money streams and by the way, I have nothing else to do with my life. I am here for you to help you if you didn't speak perfect English, it would still be a miracle but spoke perfect like it's just insane and so he gives himself to these pilgrims and because of him.

They stay they flourish. It's one of the miracles of history and it goes one step further is that if they had not succeeded there. 10 years later on the Arbella, the Massachusetts Bay colony, which was even much more significant that would've never happened if the pilgrims had succeeded at Plymouth so you could say that the cradle of liberty Boston everything that comes out the revolution that whole culture never would have happened if Squanto had not walked out of the woods, prepared by God, like Joseph, what man meant for evil God meant for good is one of the crazy stories in history it's documented. Not that many people know it, so I put in my book. If you can keep it because as far as I'm concerned, every American needs to know the story. That's why today on Thanksgiving is so critical for us to highlight the story and to better understand the founding of our nation. Eric Ike I asked this question, though some people would say, but his suffering by being taken into slavery in all that he had to go through and to say that it was needed for America to start and nourish.

You could scratch her head over some of that thick, why don't you head your you not paying attention to me near their mysteries here that will never unravel this side of heaven.

I mean, why does any of the suffering have to happen but I tell you, there's a lot of meaningless suffering in life. He could've got all through this and died a miserable death instead he gets to play a role in history where were talking about him today because his kindness, his generosity, his nobility helped suffering people at a time that they were on the ropes.

They were ready to go home weeping because they lost everything.

It's just one of these things that we don't have an answer but we do know that God used him and in his last years on earth.

He had Julie he wasn't better he said look want the opposite of bitter. He was like I can't even believe that I had in fact in this.

I quote in the book.

He said the prayed that the Englishman would pray for him that he would go to their God in heaven, he asked them to pray that he would go to their God. He understood this faith and he wanted to go to heaven and he asked them to pray for him and John Winthrop says that this man Squanto was a special instrument sent of God and that was it was clear to the pilgrims that God has heard our cries. He sent this man on this circuitous horrible path just for the right time to save us and to start a nation that, by the way, would bring blessings to the whole world.

Eric let me ask you this, of course, we have the background sounds of marriages living here in New York, but let me ask you this.

How do we take the lesson from Squanto, as believers, fellow believers, yet with him.

You to say that we can't look at just our life is the end all of God's plan that that it's all about me that there is something at work that is bigger than us. That is more important than the diocese to trust him and he doesn't always give us the proof that were looking for.

I mean here.

Here's the bottom line. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't but he still the same God if he doesn't give you the results you're looking for doesn't mean that he's not there.

In the case of Squanto.

Sometimes he gives us stories from history to show us. Look, I am faithful. You may not see it every single time. But I want you to know unfaithfulness is such a crazy story.

I don't know what other moral you can pull from it, except God is real, it's just one of those things. If you're doubting where you are in life right now and why you're here.

God knows the rest of the story and only need to do is trust him and know that he won't fail you. He will not fail you to that end, Eric did the man we know as Squanto did he get to see a good ending to his personal story. Squanto actually died very young. He died only a few years after this they don't know what he died of but before he died. He was able and I forgot to say this to broker a deal. Imagine this to broker a deal with the surrounding Indian tribes so that there was peace between the English settlers in the surrounding Indian tribes that lasted for 50 years. I mean, you cannot even imagine. That makes any diplomatic effort that you've ever heard about seemed not that amazing.

This is just amazing because we know the horrors with Phillips that King Philip's war in 1670, but for 50 years. There was peace but my point is, he did not see that 50 years of peace he sought.

That's right we don't always see what our life is not till in the words he did not see we see but he did not see most of what he accomplished their something Eric as we wrap up here. I'm thinking of the celebration of Thanksgiving. One of things that we did was radio theater which is a dramatization of a variety of stories, but one of the stories we did was Squanto I know and you know along with your highlighting of this maybe talking about it around the table so that your children better understand the contribution. Squanto made to this nation right that he was in the early days before people came here will look I wrote a I wrote a children's book about it, which many people to be only read that Thanksgiving I think that is my fondest dream that you read this with your kids, you know, the adult version is in my book. If you can keep it.

And obviously there's the focus on the family radio theater which I've heard for years people say, did you know they did a Squanto story, but I think that we have to tell the stories to her kids. It's an obligation as parents. We've got to put these things in their hands because this is who we are as a people God has had his hand on us. Therefore we have responsibility hey Eric, one of the traditions my wife Jane does around the table weep Kidder for, but it is a wonderful tradition that I know my boys are going to do with their children. Sunday is to go around the table and say what is it you're thankful for. Given the context of what you've written about the way the historically you've looked at these figures, not just Squanto but all the biographies that you've done, what is something that you take away on this day of Thanksgiving. If you are sitting at our table and Jean said to you, Eric. What you think is for. It's pretty easy actually for me that God would allow me to be used. Tell these stories I am filled with gratitude. Those are just words.

I just I praise the Lord every day that he's allowed me to be part of what he's doing in this generation because that that to me is the whole point of life and so that the fact that he allows me to know and hear from people is that I've read your books and this is mother I just praise God for that.

Every single day.

We've done well as an English major for the moms and desert are worried about their sons and daughter majoring in English is your favorite inside a major in English but pray hard, Eric.

It's been great thanks and always my joy thanks Jim John heard a really amazing story today from Eric protection.

This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and on John. John, I really love the way Eric brings history to life and we recommend you get a copy of his children's book Squanto in the miracle of Thanksgiving. This will be a great resource for your family.

Something to share with your kids or your grandkids. In fact, it would make a great Christmas gift this year and if you send a gift to Focus on the Family of any amount will send you a copy of this book is our way of saying thank you and your call center and offices are closed today and tomorrow for the holiday but you can donate online and get that book you'll find a link in the episode notes okay what we want to do next. Display a short excerpt from our radio theater dramatization of Squanto which was so well done and it will inspire your imagination about the story that Erica shared with us in Focus on the Family's radio theater is a collection of award-winning audio dramas with really terrific stories gifted actors and original music in here now is a clip from the legend of Squanto's friendship. You think they come to train it is not French is you know you know such told me of the colors initiating training tribes in this country's.

They may be here to train with us now you meet with them father if they come to greet us and peace. Yes, but I see no scouts, no clues, no representatives go around to the rich. I can see more clearly from that note stay here. I want to tell him he may run back to tell me what you see from the rich will go both necessary messages. You have to keep up trying to come, then why you chattering on small boat around the cove on the beach sure metallic father that the English to school is about avoiding strong publishing a little bit of time to spot more like like to see the will and will not cease all you and me goodbyes always died trying. Maybe you would get some of my stinking company job. What is happened. Who are you, I'm so sick, it will be ignored from the Algonquins. I am indeed schedulers. I am just quantum of the Patuxent. I don't understand why if the policy because they are cowards and would not fight us as honorable men. They sneak and steal like foxes among chickens. We are hostages. They use us to get food supplies. We do not know their minds are there's a mistake I said the same thing we could go even as one of their leaders, the one called Capt. Smith smoked a pipe of peace and exchange gifts with our leaders.

This one will size Capt. Hunter made his plans to capture a slave slave. It is true we must fight we must find a way to escape itself, nor even the father will take action like tribal wage war sure they would. But how will they wage war against a ship like this.

Listen to the waves against the side moving from the line. No, the great Spirit would not allow innocent men to die this way die will not die. We may wish it were otherwise. Over and over. A copy of the legend of Squanto is produced by the Focus on the Family radio theater team learn more about her collection of radio theater audio dramas at our website and don't forget we can send a copy of the book by Erica Texas Squanto in the miracle of Thanksgiving when you donate today and make a gift of any amount. The link is in the episode notes here. The engine I'd like to express a big thanks to our listeners.

We have been so honored to be a part of your lives. Each week on the broadcaster and thank you for sharing your stories with us. In response, John you've often remarked about those divine moments were listeners just happened to hear Focus on the Family on the radio or something in a podcast that spoke directly to their heart and that's exactly what happened to woman will call her Karen heard one of her recent programs about infidelity in marriage. The broadcast wasn't relevant to Karen. In that moment, but a few days later she found text messages that revealed her husband was having an affair that Karen was so devastated and was ready to leave with her children and never return.

But here's what she said God worked a miracle in my heart that day, in no small part thanks to the focus broadcast.

I listen to. I did not want to participate in a fatherless generation, and I felt compassion for my husband as he confessed fully and repented of his transgressions. After talking with our church pastor. My husband also found a Christian counselor through your website.

We are currently attending counseling sessions together in the strangest way. We already feel our marriage is stronger because we are actively talking and praying together. Thank you for the work you do it changes lives and families will that's all God's doing. And thanks to him.

This family has found a powerful reason to celebrate Thanksgiving this year and let me add, thanks to you, heeding the call to help us love hearing stories like that were so encouraged and were not just ask you to contact us about ways God has used Focus on the Family in your family call and share your story with us. It's 880 family and will have that number in the episode and coming up next time understanding the power and the impact of being generous help you in your on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.

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