1618-1648 the “Thirty Years War” raged in Europe over who was going to control Germany. Entire regions were devastated, stripped by by foraging armies. Military and civilian survivors were eventually hit with famine and disease that followed the waste of wartime. Countries in the conflict went bankrupt. Lawlessness added to the hardships.
Martin Rinkart was one of four pastors in a small German town that was overrun three times by battling armies. The city and his home eventually became a place for refugees and their diseases. One pastor left for reasons of health and safety. Martin buried the other two pastors along with his wife, performing as many as 50 funerals each day. Martin wrote these words:
In our day, the only way to sing about circumstances is to sing the blues. Paul is not singing about his circumstances but is bursting with praise to God who controls all circumstances. Praise is an important element to victory over discouragement and depression. “Praise changes things” just as much as “Prayer changes things.”
In this season of thanksgiving let us be mindful that when we worship, the downcast soul is leans on the God of all comfort.