Will we thank God during the hard times as well as the good times?
Long-suffering Job answered that question, "Yes." So did Martin Rinkart.
Rinkart was a Lutheran pastor in seventeenth-century Germany. At one point during the Thirty Years' War, his town was overrun by refugees and wounded soldiers. His community soon became a crowded jumble of hungry, diseased, and dying people.
Unlike some pastors who fled to safer, less stressful locations, Rinkart stayed and ministered. He fed people from his own pantry. He opened his home to the sick.
Over the course of one year, Rinkart conducted more than 4,500 funeral services. If you're not a math whiz, that number represents an average of 12-13 funerals every day, for a year. One of the people Rinkart buried was his wife.
My husband will lead a memorial service today for a long-time church member. I can't fathom how Hoyt would handle leading a dozen funerals a day between now and next November. I can't fathom how I would handle it.
Despite Rinkart's hardships, he found room in his heart for thankfulness. He recorded his thoughts in a prayer composed for his children. We recognize the words as the lyrics of the old hymn, "Now Thank We All Our God"
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
No matter how we may feel about the events of 2013, our God has blessed us with countless gifts of love. And I'm thankful to report: He still is ours today.
Saturday – November 23, 2013