This week we observed Thanksgiving. Because we are still living in a pandemic, some people may find it hard to be thankful. Their lives may have more pain than joy, making it hard to express true gratitude.

They may see others enjoying the blessings of God while they feel forgotten by the Almighty. It may be that there is a great need in life and the resources are too small. Yes, for some it will be difficult to raise a voice of thanks to God for his watchful care and goodness, yet, hopefully, they will still do it. And for those in such trying times, be aware that you are not the first to struggle with such feelings.

In 1636 during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648 in Europe) — one of the worst wars in the history of mankind in terms of the sheer number of deaths, epidemics, and economic impact — there was a godly pastor whose name was Martin Rinkert.

In a single year, this pastor buried 5,000 people in his community. This averaged about 15 funerals a day. He lived with the worst that life could dish out. He was raising his children in the middle of such death and despair few in the world had ever seen, trying to teach them of God’s goodness.

To help his children cope, he wrote a table grace for them to offer thanks to God. You’ll find that table grace in your hymnal as the Thanksgiving hymn, “Now thank we all our God.” The blessing he taught his children was:

“Now thank we all our God

With hearts and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done,

In whom his world rejoices.”

Things may be hard for you and your family this Thanksgiving, but perhaps not as bad as it was for Martin Rinkert. Give thanks to God that no matter what the circumstance, he still loves you and is watching over you and yours. May God bless. Happy Thanksgiving.

David Sandvick is the pastor of First English Baptist Church in Frostburg.

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