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Look for a moment if you would please to our portion of study tonight: First Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. NKJV. Martin Rinkart was a pastor at Eilenberg, Saxony during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Because Eilenberg was a walled city, it became a severely overcrowded refuge for political and military fugitives from far and near. As a result, the entire city suffered from famine and disease. In 1637 a great pestilence swept through the area, resulting in the death of some eight thousand persons, including Rinkart’s wife. At that time he was 41, widowed and the only minister in Eilenberg because the others had either died or fled. Rinkart alone conducted the burial services for 4480 people, sometimes as many as 40 or 50 a day!
We may well ask why all this dramatic experience and difficulty is not reflected in Rinkart’s hymn. Had the good pastor seen so much stark tragedy that he had become insensitive to human needs and problems? Of course not. He simply had come to believe that God’s providence is always good, no matter how much we are tempted to doubt it.
One of the Christian’s favorite, often-quoted Bible verses is Romans 8.28 (Living Letters): “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God, and if we are fitting into His plans.” Do we really believe this assurance? In our testimonies and prayers, and even in some of the songs we sing, we seem to enjoy talking about our little troubles and difficulties, multiplying and magnifying them. We almost sound at times like “spiritual hypochondriacs!”
In the unclear world of tomorrow, it is entirely possible that we may experience great difficulty, persecution, and even war and death. Christians should prepare themselves and their families for this possibility, so that if and when it comes, we might face it in spiritual victory, giving testimony that ours is a faith that works. It may help us to know Martin Rinkart’s experience and his hymn, which confirms these words of the Apostle Paul:
What can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or hardship, Can persecution, hunger, nakedness, peril, or the sword? “We are being done to death for thy sake all day long,” as Scripture says; “we have been treated like sheep for the slaughter”-and yet, in spite of all, overwhelming victory is ours through him who loved us. For I am convinced that there is nothing in death or life, in the realm of spirits or superhuman powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, in the forces of the universe, in heights or depths – nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8.35-39, New English Bible).
Hymn #556
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things bath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mother’s arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
0 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.
Martin Rinkart (1586-1649)
Every day we have a choice. We can be a blessing and strengthen the lives of all those God has placed around us. That is the way of comforting one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. NKJV
Our text has two parts:
 Our promised rapture to comfort our waiting and
 Our privileged responsibility to comfort one another while we are waiting.
The Rapture:
Our promised rapture
to comfort our waiting