Thankful In All Circumstances

November 26, 2020
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Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (NKJV)

Recently, I came across the story of Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran minister, who came to the German city of Eilenburg in 1637 near the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. Because the city was walled, it became overcrowded with refugees from the armed conflict in the surrounding countryside. The city was conquered by different armies three times, and Rinkart often had to house soldiers in his home.

That same year, a severe plague broke out, killing 8,000 people, including Rinkart's wife, all of the town's other clergymen, and a large number of children. Rinkart had to do the work of three pastors, conducting as many as 50 funerals a day, a total of 4,480. Many refugees were buried in trenches without a service. After the plague, the city was hit by an extreme famine. Through it all, he faithfully cared for the sick and hungry, sharing what little food he had for his own family. Rinkart remained well throughout the plague and subsequent famine.

There is good evidence that he took to heart the apostle Paul's injunction, "Be thankful in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT), for out of this experience, he wrote the hymn, "Nun danket alle Gott", translated by Catherine Winkworth:

    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 mother's arms
    Hath blessed us on our way
    With countless gifts of love,
    And still is ours today.

What can you think of today to be thankful to God for?

Recently, someone told me about taking a "gratitude walk". She takes time out to begin her day by walking and thinking about all the things that she is thankful for. She returns with a happy mind, at peace with the challenges of managing her household. God certainly knows what's best for us when He counselled us to "be thankful in all circumstances"!

Prayer: Lord God, give us grateful hearts! Help us always to have a positive, uplifting, thankful attitude, and to look for the good in everything. Amen.


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About the author:

Robin Ross <rross@telus.net>
Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great reminder, Robin. Happy Thanksgiving.


    Thank you for this beautiful devotional Robin.
    Stay Healthy.


    Thanks, Robin for a good example of being thankful and a story I can connect to that hymn when I play it.


    Thanks for this message today. With thanks to our wonderful and gracious Lord and King. Blessings to all.


    Thanks for your post, Robin. It always amazes me how many struggled and were able to stand firm in such extremely difficult circumstances. An inspiration for us all! Blessings!


    Hello Robin,
    Hoping things are starting to look up out in BC. They certainly aren’t here in Ontario.
    God bless you as you continue to write for Him!


    How wonderful to read one of your own devotionals, Robin. In addition to being blessed myself by the content, it will be helpful to keep as an example of how to develop and structure a good devotional!


    Thank you, Robin, for sharing this salient yet encouraging devotional with us. It’s far too easy to get bogged down with the poor me’s when others have experienced worse troubles yet stayed faithfully grateful. Blessings.


    Good stuff, Robin, and particularly appropriate for today’s circumstances.
    Jordan Peterson suggests writing down 10 things you are grateful for EACH day. No duplication. Challenging.
    Blessings.


    Hi Robin
    I read your Devotional this morning with a surge of joy. I had been feeling a bit downcast with the covid situation and not able to see my grandchildren in the States.
    It was as if God spoke to me directly, reminding me to give thanks for all things.
    THANK YOU,
    BLESSINGS.


    That is a real favourite verse of mine. Those of us who have so much seem to be ready to complain disproportionately when something is taken away.
    When I was working (teaching primary school) I used to thank God for anything and everything I could think of in rhythm with my walking. The Lord was SO good to me. There are spiritual ‘laws’ just like physical ones (the law of gravity) and I’m convinced that there is a law of thankfulness that operates at all times. Thank you for reminding me!! God bless.


    Dear Robin,
    Martin Rinkart was an amazing Christian in very difficult times. We can learn from his deeds. I like to focus on the first part of that verse “be anxious for nothing”. When I feel anxious, I know that I am not trusting in God. He will take all my worries and hold them for me. I like to try to pass them to him and not to take them back. I start my day also with a gratitude prayer (not a walk but it probably would also be a good idea) and feel more positive and able to face whatever comes my way. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.


    Thanks for sharing Robin.
    Blessings.


    Thanks Robin I needed that.
    This devotional actually came to me. So I hope the glitch is finished.


    Thank you for that great story behind one of my favourite hymns. And it was thoughtful of you to write something suitable for American Thanksgiving, honouring our neighbours to the south.


    Good morning Mr. Ross,
    Read your devotional this morning, Very good words indeed.
    Thank you for reminding us that we should always be thankful.
    Blessings.


    Robin,
    My husband and I really appreciated your timely devotion as we in the U.S.A. enjoyed a very quiet day of our holiday, Thanksgiving. Your work brought a special calmness and reassurance to our day. Thank you very much.


    Thank you, Robin,
    As it is my birthday, I have much to be thankful for, as my brother (91) pointed out, and I did not know the story behind “Nun danket alle Gott”, but that is quite thought provoking.
    Many thanks for all the good work, do keep safe and keep at it.


    Robin, you’ve touched my heart! We had neighbors who came from German stock who held a Latvian Easter celebration every year, the highlight of that season.
    My father came one year and was welcomed into the fold. He played the piano and they were soon together beside it, singing old hymns. This was one. It was salutary to hear them sing each in their own language, recognizing that only forty years before they had been on opposing sides in the war.
    It was a new experience for him, and I could see that it affected him, once he learned the words and sang along with her, “Nun danket”!
    Hope things are going safely with you, blessings.


    Oh Robin, what a wonderful example you’ve shared. I was totally unaware of the name Martin Rinkart but certainly knew the hymn! All I can say is WOW! Surely, we each have much for which to be thankful. I really like the idea of a gratitude walk to start one’s day! I’m not so much into walking these days but I begin my Journal each morning with statements of gratitude! It really helps me ‘focus’ on God and His many blessings (no matter the circumstances).

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