"16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
As we approach Thanksgiving Day this week, Paul reminds us that we should be thankful constantly...and in all circumstances. It's easy to be thankful for what we see as the good things in our lives; harder, to remember to be thankful during times of hardship, loss, illness or disappointment. Yet, those things can also end up bringing growth and blessing to us.
Here's a story recounted by Arthur Bietz, a pastor who wrote for an inspirational newsletter in the 1950's.
Martin Rinkart was a pastor in the little city of Eisenberg in Saxony during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). This walled city was the goal of refugees during that time. They came and ate all the food, and then there was starvation. With the starvation came pestilence, until practically the whole population of the city died. Martin Rinkart, the only pastor left in the city, had as many as fifty funerals in one day. One evening after having conducted funerals all day, he sank down exhausted, thinking that he could bear it no longer; but then it was he wrote the words of the famous hymn:
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
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
Yes, it is the will of God for us that we give thanks. If we were not thankful, we would go insane with the perplexities and irregularities of life's experiences. If there was ever a time when we needed to be thankful, it is in the hour of crisis; because if we are not thankful, we will be overwhelmed by despair.
By Arthur L. Bietz, Signs of the Times, November 28, 1950
May your Thanksgiving Day and all your days be richly blessed by God whose love knows no bounds!