It was the worst of times. In the first half of the 17th century, Germany was in the midst of wars and famine and pestilence. In the city of Eilenburg lived a pastor by the name of Martin Rinkart.
During one especially oppressive period, Rinkart conducted up to 50 funerals a day as a plague swept through the town and as the Thirty Years’ War wreaked its own terror on the people. Among those whom Rinkart buried were members of his own family.
Yet during those years of darkness and despair, when death and destruction greeted each new day, Pastor Rinkart wrote 66 sacred songs and hymns. Among them was the song “Now Thank We All Our God.” As sorrow crouched all around him, Rinkart wrote:
Now thank we all our God
With hearts 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.
Rinkart demonstrated a valuable lesson for us all: Thankfulness does not have to wait for prosperity and peace. It’s always a good time to praise God for the “wondrous things” He has done.
A heart in tune with God can sing praises even in the darkest night.