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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Job was a piker

[NOTE: I am posting this "Thanksgiving" post in advance of Thanksgiving Day in hopes that it might help even just one person redirect their thinking as we approach a day set apart especially for giving thanks. Update: Bumped to Thanksgiving Day.]

The biblical story of Job is a story of faith in the face of extreme adversity.

You probably know the story well. Satan makes his appearance in the court of The Most High and suggests that he can turn even the most faithful of men, Job, away from faith in God. God gives Job over to Satan to afflict reserving only Job's life for Himself.

In the trials that ensue, Job loses his wealth, [almost all of] his family and his health. His friends counsel him to forsake his faith, and in one of the most famous lines of the Old Testament, his wife tells him to "Curse God and die."

Pretty darned bad, eh?

But, you may say, Job's just a myth, right?

How about an historical example, well-known and verified?

It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. (Not so Dickensian, but oh, so true.) War ravaged the land for 30 years. During that time, Martin had served as one of the pastors of a once-prosperous town that had suffered greatly in the war. Sacked three times. Saved from sacking once only by courageous negotiations with a conquering general/king by one simple pastor... but still ruined again economically at the end of the negotiations.

This simple pastor had also seen his family, friends, colleagues and thousands of townspeople and refugees killed by plague and hunger, and during the war years, when he was the sole remaining pastor of the town, he was called upon not only to conduct the funerals of his own wife and children, but also to conduct as many as 40-50 funerals a day for families of friends and neighbors-the townspeople he served so long and knew so well-and of those from the crowded masses of refugees from the war-torn countryside. All-in-all, he performed nearly 5,000 funerals during these years.

The war was the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). The town was Eilenburg, in Saxony. The man was Martin Rinkart. In response to all those years of affliction, he penned these words:

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 blessèd 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.

Be thankful for your blessings? Yes. But even when you cannot see any "blessings" be thankful still.

Crossposted at Whistling in the Light and Cathouse Chat.

Linked at The Uncooperative Blogger, Don Surber, Peakah's Productions, Stop the ACLU, Soldier's Angel, Common Sense Runs Wild, MVRWC, Outside the Beltway, MacStansbury, Right Wing Nation, TMH's Bacon Bits, NIF, Basil's Sunday Brunch, and Mensa Barbie.

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