Some call this a spectacular historical example of God’s Providence. Others challenge it as pure luck. The North American Indian is vital in the grand design for the world’s history. Their history plays an equally important role in the larger story in how history continues to be laid out for humanity. Their culture takes part in the same human history that God has had for all of humankind since the Creation and Adam and Eve.
Now, Providence is not just the name of a city in Rhode Island. Providence is a word that is generally defined as God’s omnipresent and active role in the world’s history. That means at any given time He may, or may not, intervene on humanity’s behalf. Providence is also seen as historical proof through linking current events, the historical past, and Christianity.
Many people do not know that one of the first times mainland America was ever entered was by way of northern Mexico and the Spanish Europeans. It wasn’t until 1598 that the Spanish would try to colonize New Mexico. An expedition of 400 soldiers headed north from Mexico City, led by devout Catholic explorer Don Juan de Oñate. This was the 2nd time that any European would touch mainland North America. It was also the 2nd time they would also have explicit experience with the Pueblo Indians, as one of the first few Indian tribes ever initially contacted.
The feelings and observations of divine authorship over the initial European discovery of New Mexico could not be truly understood without offering a final example of God’s omnipresent works. Occurring shortly after this event, historian Villagra wrote of much hardship endured by Onate’s expedition into indigenous and untraveled New Mexico.
“After many trials and many sufferings, [we] came in sight of a splendid pueblo. We gave it the name of’ ‘San Juan,’ adding ‘de los Caballeros’ in memory of those noble sons who first raised in these barbarous regions the bloody tree upon which Christ perished for the redemption of mankind.” The task of desert exploration was no easy job. And the idea of “trials and many sufferings” shouldn’t be taken out of context either. They were literally surviving.
It was mentioned: “These men are forced at times to subsist on unsavory roots and unknown seeds, and even on the flesh of dogs, horses, and other animals whose flesh is most abhorrent to all civilized people. Through the snowy passes they blaze their way as a plow cuts a furrow through the soil. Often in the mountain fastnesses they escape in snowdrifts only by clinging to the tails of their horses…”
Upon making it to the Indian village, “The natives of this pueblo came forth and gladly shared their homes with us. Here the entire army made camp. One day, while the general was taking his meal, the savages began to raise such a frightful wail that we all thought the final day of judgment had arrived, when we would be called before the judgment seat of God to give our final accounting.”
“Astonished and confused, we inquired the cause of such dreadful lamentations. The people answered that for a long time they had been praying to their gods for rain; that despite their prayers not a single cloud appeared to darken the heavens, and that unless the drought were broken all their hopes would be gone, for not a single plant would yield its crop.”
“On hearing this, the commissary and the good Fray [Father] Cristóbal, trusting in God from whom all our needs must come, commanded the Indians to cease their wailing, for they would offer prayers to God in heaven, asking Him to look down with pity, and, though they were disobedient children, to send abundant rains that the dying plants might revive and yield plentiful crops.”
“The Indians were greatly pleased, and like little children who hush when they are given the things they have cried for, ceased their lamentations. Eagerly and anxiously they scanned the heavens, awaiting the promised rain. The next day at about the same hour in which they had set up their wail, the skies suddenly became dark and the clouds of heaven opened and poured forth regular torrents of rain. The barbarians stood spellbound in awe and mute gratitude at the unbounding mercy of God…”
God’s omnipresence is literal. History is His story. Examples of Providence are well-documented all throughout history, including all American history. Humanity in all its ethnic make-up is part of His all perfectly written and final grand design.
Daniel L. Smith,
 Minge, Ward A., Miguel Encinias, Alfred Rodriguez, Joseph P. Sanchez, Gaspar P. De Villagra, and Larry Frank. "Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610: Gaspar Perez de Villagra.” The Western Historical Quarterly 25, no. 2 (1994), 237. doi:10.2307/971486.