Posted by: rcottrill | November 12, 2012

Thanks to God for My Redeemer

Words: August Ludvig Storm (b. Oct. 23, 1862; d. July 1, 1914)
Music: Johannes Alfred Hultman (b. July 6, 1861; d. Aug. 7, 1942)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This hymn was written in Swedish. It was translated into English in 1931, by Carl Ernest Backstrom (1901-1984). The original version had four stanzas, but when he made his translation Backstom reduced the number to three, incorporating some of the ideas from the other stanzas into his adaptation. In Storm’s Swedish version, he lists some thirty-two things to be thankful for. For our Swedish friends, here is how he begins.

Tack min Gud för vad som varit,
Tack för allt vad du beskär.
Tack för tiderna som farit,
Tack för stund som inne är.
Tack för ljusa, varma vårar,
Tack för mörk och kulen höst.
Tack för redan glömda tårar,
Tack för friden i mitt bröst.

The word “thank” (and related words such as thankful and thanksgiving) is found in our English Bibles 136 times. But that’s just the beginning. There are hundreds more times when the Hebrew and Greek words involved are translated “praise” or “bless” also indicating gratitude to God. In other words, it’s a big subject.

Thanksgiving to Almighty God permeates the Scriptures, from early examples in the books of Chronicles, such as this one: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” (I Chron. 16:8), to this one in the book of Revelation: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned” (Rev. 11:17).

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High (Ps. 92:1).  “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 106:1).

In our own lives, if we do as another gospel song invites us to and “Count [our] blessings, name them one by one,” we’ll find the list is lengthy indeed. But we do have a tendency to define “blessings” as something positive and pleasant. Yet if we truly believe the promise of God’s Word that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28), we need to include more than that.

This is where Lieutenant Colonel Storm (of the Salvation Army, in Sweden) can be a help to us. He reminds us that we can trust God to work for our good in our pains as well as our pleasures (CH-2), in our sorrows as well as our joys (CH-3), and in the times He denies a prayer request as well as with those He answers (CH-2). Eight years after he published these words in 1891, Storm was stricken with a painful and crippling disease. But he continued to praise the Lord in it all.

When the Bible exhorts us, “In everything give thanks” (I Thess. 5:18), it is not telling Christians to take some kind of neurotic, masochistic pleasure in trials and suffering. Rather, it is asking us to trust the truth of Romans 8:28, and believe that God will be at work in such things for our good and His glory, just as surely as He will in those things in which we take enjoyment and delight. We are thankful in them because we know, as Paul discovered, that God can be glorified in our trials by revealing His enabling grace in our weakness (II Cor. 12:7-10).

CH-2) Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Questions:
1) Take a few moments to list ten things for which you are thankful to God this very day?

2) What are some practical ways you can show your gratitude for these things?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: