One man or woman, in obedience to God, can do great things, and make a profound difference in the world. Annually we honor such a man, Christopher Columbus. October 12th is Columbus Day because on October 12, 1492, land was first sighted from the deck of the Pinta. (Columbus Day is officially celebrated on Monday, October 14 this year.) The island soon reached was to be named San Salvador, or Holy Savior. All Americans should know that Columbus was a man who was used by God to move the Gospel westward, and his efforts, and those after him, led to the establishment of a nation that embraced God as its Lord. This of course is the United States of America, a land of freedom for all.
Christopher (which means light bearer) Columbus kept journals, and one of the things that he wrote was what has been published as the Book of Prophecies. We know from his writings that one of his primary motivations was a passion to see the world evangelized. Here is a portion of his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, monarchs of Spain:
At this time I have seen and put in study to look into the Scriptures, cosmography, histories, chronicles and philosophy and other arts, which our Lord opened to my understanding (I could sense His hand upon me), so that it became clear to me that it was feasible to navigate from here to the Indies; and He unlocked within me the determination to execute the idea. All those who heard about my enterprise rejected it with laughter, scoffing at me. Neither the sciences which I mentioned above, nor the authoritative citations from them, were of any avail. Who doubts that this illumination was from the Holy Spirit? I attest that He (The Spirit), with marvelous rays of light consoled me through the holy and sacred Scriptures, a strong and clear testimony, with the forty four books of the Old Testament and four Gospels with twenty three Epistles of those blessed Apostles, encouraging me to proceed, and, continually, without ceasing for a moment, they inflame me with a sense of great urgency.
In God’s Providence, Columbus opened the door for further exploration and eventual colonization of the American continents. Columbus’ vision was fulfilled, the Gospel advanced westward. In God’s providence America was colonized by Protestant England rather than Catholic Spain or France. As a result Biblically reasoning Americans produced a form of government based upon the Scriptures, ensuring liberty for the individual that was unprecedented in human history.
This Columbus Day, I pray that I will have the spirit of Columbus, to be a light bearer to our world!
Featured image: First Landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World; painting by Dióscoro Puebla (1862)