Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

November 24

Martin Rinkart, 1586–1649
English Translation—Catherine Winkworth, 1827–1878
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37)
From some of the severest human sufferings imaginable during the 30 Years’ War of 1618–48—a war that has been described as the most devastating in all history—this great hymn of the church was born.
Martin Rinkart was called at the age of 31 to pastor the state Lutheran church in his native city of Eilenberg, Germany. He arrived there just as the dreadful bloodshed of the 30 Years’ War began, and there Rinkart spent the remaining 32 years of his life faithfully ministering to these needy people.
Germany, the battleground of this conflict between warring Catholic and Protestant forces from various countries throughout Europe, was reduced to a state of misery that baffles description. The German population dwindled from 16 million to 6 million. Because Eilenberg was a walled city, it became a frightfully over-crowded refuge for political and military fugitives from far and near. Throughout these war years several waves of deadly diseases and famines swept the city, as the various armies marched through the town, leaving death and destruction in their wake. The plague of 1637 was particularly severe. At its height Rinkart was the only minister remaining to care for the sick and dying.
Martin Rinkart’s triumphant, personal expressions of gratitude and confidence in God confirm for each of us this truth taught in Scripture, that as God’s children, we too can be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
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.
O may this bounteous God thru 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 heav’n adore—for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

    For Today: 1 Chronicles 16:36; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58

God wants us to be victors and not the victims of life. With His presence we can overcome and not be overwhelmed. Carry this musical truth with you—

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