by James Merritt

"The Ministry Of Misery"
II Corinthians 1:3-4
James Merritt


1. We are entering into the sweetest season of the year: the Christmas Season. Everywhere you go you seem to hear that song entitled, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

2. And, for many people it certainly is. But for many people it is the saddest time of the year. Did you know that more suicides take place during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.

3. For many people this will be their first Christmas without their husband or their wife, or a son or a daughter, or a father or a mother. For many this will be their first Christmas without a job. Some have been told by their doctor that this will be the last Christmas they will spend on this earth.

4. Quite frankly, in the midst of "Jingle Bells" there are "jangled nerves." For many every night of this Christmas Season will be a "silent night" of loneliness and despair. As we sing "Joy to the World" there will be many who can find no joy in the world, and they need the ministry of misery.

5. If you look closely enough and carefully enough you will see, even in the church, broken hearts, broken hopes, and broken homes that need the ministry of misery.

6. Paul knew what it was to be mired in the mud of misery. He is not dealing in this passage with theory, he is dealing with fact. Notice the personal pronouns that are used:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts Us in all Our tribulations, that We may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which We ourselves are comforted by God." (vv. 3-4)

Paul had run the gamont of misery that life can deal out. He had experienced emotional suffering, physical sickness, and spiritual sorrow. Yet out of it, God had taught him the ministry of misery.

I. The God Of Comfort

1. "Blessed be the Go ...

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