The Master’s Ministry Of Misery

In their misery they will earnestly seek me. (Hosea 5:15)

I don’t know anyone who actually welcomes misery and misfortune, yet our verse for today contains an important biblical truth: Adversity is very often the means our Lord uses to get our attention and return our affections to Him. No one has ever put a sharper point on this truth than C. S. Lewis, who wrote in The Problem of Pain

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

The Great Shepherd knows all too well that His sheep are prone to wander . . . and wander we do! We wander away from His presence. We wander away from His protection. We wander away from His provision. And in doing so, we wander into a myriad of unforeseen problems and predicaments that bring us to painful providences. But as Lewis said so well, it is in this pain that our Great Shepherd shouts to us and draws us back into His fold. Pain indeed has its perfect purpose, and our Master delivers His ministry of misery into the life of every one of His children. The key is to receive it and respond to it rightly.

Think back over your life for a moment. Surely you can recall times where misery ministered to you in a profound way. God simply loves us too much to let us go our own way. So our Master intervenes by sending storm winds that blow us onto the rocks of His righteousness. It is painful, to be sure! Often the pain seems unbearable, but it is a pain that points us back toward our Savior. Make no mistake, painful providences in the hands of our Prince are sanctified for the strengthening of our soul and the furthering of our faith. Misery does indeed have its ministry — a powerful and positive one — in the life of the believer . . . and that includes you.

So regardless of where this message finds you today and what obstacles are confronting you, fear not and faint not, Christian, because your faithful Savior is using it all to accomplish His perfect purposes in your life. Remember, all the promises of Jesus are as true today as they were when He uttered them. One of those promises is “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Sometimes we are not the cause of our troubles; they simply come knocking at our door. At other times we do bring them on ourselves. Either way, the Master’s ministry of misery is at work, causing us to return to our first love . . . and His name is Jesus Christ. 

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!


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