Blog Series:  How To Thrive and Survive In Challenging Times

A grateful heart can give birth to a song of joy in the midst of turbulence. We should trumpet our thanks to God in the midst of tough times.  Jesus followers are to shine in the midst of what seems to be darkness.  We can brighten up our environment and bring attention to Jesus Christ.

Many of us have never heard of the Thirty Years War in Europe (1618-1648).  During this period of tribulation, there lived a man named Martin Rinkart.  He was ordained to be a minister in the German Lutheran Church.  His first pastor’s position was in the city of Eilenberg, Germany.  It was a walled city. It became an overcrowded refugee camp full of political and military people who were fleeing for their lives.  Death, disease, and deep hunger plagued the city.

The Plague of 1637  left the city in near destruction.  The Rinkart home was open to the weak and sick.  At the apex of the plague, he was the only remaining minister in the city and was holding 40-50 funerals per day.  The city was overrun by two foreign armies.  One army demanded a huge payment of money to stop the killing.  Rinkart led his parishioners in a familiar hymn and in energetic, enthusiastic congregational prayer.  Their fervency in giving thanks persuaded the commander of the foreign army to lower the amount of the demanded tribute money.

Rinkart also showed that a song can come to life and bring joy and light to times of turmoil when you give thanks.  He wrote over 66 hymns during this period of suffering. One of the greatest hymns of thankfulness was NOW THANK WE ALL OF OUR GOD.  He expresses thanks to God in the first verse:

Now thank we all our God, With heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices;

Who, from our mothers’ arms, Hath blest us on our way

With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.

The words of this verse of song are still true today.  In the midst of this CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC, we need to give thanks to God even if we are in the midst of being really beaten up by circumstances.  The Lord will bless, protect, and honor you if you follow Him faithfully. Psalm 91 says, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him .. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease .. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday .. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you” (Psalm 91:2-3, 6-7) 

Remember, a grateful heart can give birth to a song of joy in the midst of turbulence. It is the same for us today.  Let’s practice this principle.  Here’s your assignment.  Take a piece of paper and write 10 “countless acts of love” that you are thankful to God for.  It will result in a joyful heart.

Until tomorrow,

Pastor Dan