Lutheran pastor Martin Rinkart lived in Eilenberg in Saxony during the siege of the Thirty Years War. Eilenberg was a walled city under attack by a Swedish army beginning in 1637. Already suffering from the plague, the inhabitants were dying by starvation as well as disease. Four pastors in the city were performing 12 funerals a day. Two of the ministers also died; one escaped. Rinkart was the only one left. He conducted 50 services a day for those who perished. In one year, he led services for 5000 people, including his own wife. When the war ended in 1648, Rinkart wrote these words:
“Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done, in whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers’ arms, has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”
When I read that story, I felt small. We can so easily be overcome by challenges and difficulties. Our faith can be rocked by life’s storms. Do I have the confidence that God is sovereign, that He loves me as His precious child, that He knows the verse, the chapter, and the end of our story?
As we enter this week of Thanksgivings, may our focus lift to offer praise to the One who is never defeated, never taken by surprise, never incapable of working out His way and will.
Rinkart also wrote:
“O may this bounteous God thro’ all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills in this world and the next.”
Me: “Lord, I can’t see clearly and don’t know what’s coming.”
God: “I got this.”