The original with hymn text and tune is here.
"Floods, famines, hurricanes, wars, terrorists, murders, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, and we are supposed to be thankful!? ‘Tis truly an ignorant person who claims to be thankful for such, so called, gifts." This is the mindset of some Christians today, and it has a name and it is a theology of glory. "God surely blesses His followers and does not allow such evil acts to happen to His true Children," this theology says. Yet, is this a true statement or is this a false theology?
Redeemed and forgiven is how we stand before God, our Father, by virtue of our Baptisms. He blesses more richly than we can possibly imagine. He saved us from Satan, the world, and even ourselves! He sent His only Son to die on the Cross for us. Christ, died our death, and suffered our suffering; He was abandoned by His Father because of our sin. Yet, rejoice! For now this world has nothing on us! Christ has done it all, and did for you and for me! Yes, bad things may happen in this world, but yet we look to the cross of Christ and understand that God, in Christ, knows what suffering is!
The suffering of Christ is a greater suffering than we can imagine. Martin Rinckart understood this. He understood that in all things Christ is paramount, and will always be victor. So now, by our Baptisms we have become victors. We think only someone ignorant to suffering could write such words. But no, Rinckart, who was a Lutheran pastor, is more acquainted with suffering than I ever hope to be.
Rinckart was a pastor at a parish in Eilenburg, Saxony during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48). During the war his town was sacked three times: twice by the Austrians, and once by the Swedes. He was then the only pastor in the city. A plague then took almost 8,000 lives, including his wife. Sometimes he would do the burial service for as many as 70 persons in a day. And yet, he wrote this hymn.
"How! That is insane," says the theology of glory. But remember we are baptized. We must see things through the cross of Christ. Yes, we may suffer things on earth, but the fact still remains…YOU ARE BAPTIZED!!! Freed from satan and death. He did it by Baptism, by which God has richly blessed us from our our mother’s arms. The pains in this world may perplex us, but yet God will guide to the cross, where Christ died to win us grace. Which frees us to rejoice in the ills of this world, and frees us from them in this world and the next!
Remember, that since we are now sons of God, He will work all things out for our good. The good may not be apparent, but yet it is good. We must "lean not on our own understanding," but lean on Christ, our sure rock and defense. Rinckart did, and for that he has become my Theologian of the Cross super-hero. Through all his struggles he could thank God, and so can we. We are redeemed, and what greater gift can we have than to be called sons of God? Does it matter that a flood came, earthquake hit, or buildings were blown up? Nope! I’m still redeemed and baptized, and therefore am a child of God!