I Thessalonians 5: 16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
These verses can sometimes be challenging. Did God really mean to rejoice always? To give thanks in all circumstances? Is that even possible?
We see an especially inspiring example of a brave and thankful heart in the story behind one of the church’s most popular hymns, “Now Thank We All Our God.” This particularly hymn was written during the Thirty Years War in Germany, in the early 1600’s. Its author was Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran pastor in the town of Eilenburg in Saxony.
Now, Eilenburg was a walled city, so it became a haven for refugees seeking safety from the fighting. But soon, the city became too crowded and food was in short supply. Then, a famine hit and a terrible plague and Eilenburg became a giant morgue.
In one year alone, Pastor Rinkart conducted funerals for 4,500 people, including his own wife. The war dragged on; the suffering continued. Yet through it all, he never lost courage or faith and even during the darkest days of Eilenburg’s agony, he was able to write this hymn:
Now thank we all our God,
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom the world rejoices
...[So] keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills,
In this world and the next.
Even when he was waist deep in destruction, Pastor Rinkart was able to lift his sights to a higher plane. He kept his mind on God’s love when the world was filled with hate. He kept his mind on God’s promises of heaven when the earth was a living hell.
Regardless of your circumstances. Regardless of your problems or sorrows – all of us have much to be thankful for. Take time this week to give God praise for all He has done for us.
Have a great week!
If you would like to comment or if you have questions for Pastor Barry you may direct those to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.