There are over 130 passages in Scripture about thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul is encouraging us to give thanks in everything!
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
This is not as easy as it reads! What about circumstances when we feel or are hurt, put down, have lost something or someone precious? Somehow our heart finds it hard to beat in the rhythm of thankfulness.
There are only a few praises devoted just to giving thanks to God. But there is one that is very powerful: Now Thank We All Our God. In many German churches it is sung as some of our churches are singing the ‘Doxology’ after the offering is uplifted.
It was written by Martin Rinkart (1586-1649), a Lutheran pastor of Eilenberg, in Saxony. He was the son of a poor coppersmith, and felt God was calling him to the ministry. After his training he began his pastoral work just as the Thirty Years’ War was raging through Germany.
Floods of refugees streamed to Eilenberg, seeking safety behind its walls. It was a desperate time! The Swedish army surrounded the city, and inside the walls there was nothing but plague, famine, and fear. About eight hundred homes were destroyed, and people were dying in increasing numbers. The pastors faced a ministry that drained the soul and the body: preaching the gospel to encourage their flocks, caring for the sick and the dying, and burying the dead. One after another, the pastors themselves took ill and died, until at last only Martin Rinkart was left. Some days he conducted as many as fifty funerals!
Finally, when the enemy demanded a huge ransom, it was Martin Rinkart who went out to negotiate with them. He did it with such courage and faith that there soon was a conclusion to the siege, and the period of suffering finally ended.
Rinkart, knowing there is no healing without thanksgiving, composed this praise for the survivors. It has been sung around the world ever since.
I want to encourage you to sing it yourself, this week, every day, no matter of your circumstances! Your God is greater than all the troubles and sorrows!