Give Thanks in All Circumstances … Testing the Limits!

I have always loved the hymn Now Thank We All Our God, which I have included below.

Here is its story…

In the 17th century, prolonged war caused a large influx of refugees into
Eilenburg, Germany.  Disease, famine and death were rampant.  The only surviving
pastor in the city, Martin Rinkart, performed about 50 funerals a day, including
his own wife’s. During the height of a severe plague in 1637, Rinkart performed more than 4000 funerals (Yes, you read that right.).

When an attacking army came, demanding a huge ransom, Rinkart left the safety of
the city walls to ask for mercy for his city and people.  Impressed by
Rinkart’s faith and courage, the army commander lowered the demands.

Not long afterwards the war ended, and for a thanksgiving service, Rinkart wrote
this now-famous-hymn which is often sung at Thanksgiving.   

Rinkart’s faith, courage and legacy of hymn writing give a whole new meaning to Paul’s admonition in I Thessalonians 5:16-18 … “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

(Sheet music image from

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