The Ministry of Suffering

by George W. Truett (1867-1944)

"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of
His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust
in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." —Isa. 50:10 
                                               

The Bible has a message for every life, no matter what its duty or test or need. The vitality of the Bible is indestructible. No condition nor exigency of human life comes, but that the Bible has a word to meet it exactly. In every congregation such as this, there come always to such services some who have been called to walk the vale of suffering and sorrow and tears. Numbers and numbers have paused at the close of these midday services, to tell me of certain deep burdens they were bearing, or certain sore griefs that they were suffering, of certain deep perplexities that confronted them. I am to bring you a promise this morning one of the most comforting and precious in the Bible. It is in the fiftieth chapter of Isaiah, the tenth verse, and you will keep it, because you will need this promise: "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God."

May I tell you how I came to find that promise? We are all along coming upon promises that we did not know were in the Bible. What a living book it is! And how increasingly wonderful it becomes, the more we read it and study it! I was in one of the Texas cities some years ago, preaching in some daily meetings, and my attention was called to the devotion to Christ of a noble mother in that congregation. I had rarely seen anything to rank with her devotion, and in many ways my attention was called to it. Some months went by, and there came from that city to my city, another mother from that church, and presently I asked her about the first mother. She said: "I came especially to see you about the first mother. Her case is  unspeakably pitiful. It is this: She has come to the place, because of trouble, sorrow and suffering, where her spirit seems all beaten into the dust, and she is without light. If you ask her the question if she trusts Christ, she will answer without hesitation, in the words of Job: 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.' But," said the second mother, "this first mother Is In deep darkness, and is without light. I have come to you to ask If there is some suggestion you can give her out of God's Word." That is how I came to find this text. Now you are ready to hear it quoted again. Mark It, for you will need it: "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh In darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." "Who is among you that feareth the Lord," the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” "that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?" That was her case, exactly. What is to be done? The rest of the verse tells us: "Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God."

You will be glad to know, to trace the story just a moment further, that this promise was the message God used to recover this bedarkened, sorrowing mother, and to thrill her heart again with glorious peace.

Let us look at that promise a little while this morning, because sooner or later all our feet must go down that vale of sorrow and suffering and darkness and tears, and this text describes a condition that will sometime come to us all. What is the condition? Here is one that fears the Lord, and obeys the voice of His servant, and yet walketh in darkness, and hath no light. That is the condition that sometimes comes to us in our earthly experience, and that condition is sometimes the severest test that ever comes to us. Darkness is always trying to us. Darkness is trying to us physically, especially when we are ill, and agitated, and disturbed. Oh, how sick people dread the night and long for the morning ! Surely, they will be better when the light comes! And when we come into the realm of darkness religious, how terrible such darkness becomes, and how glorious is light when it streams down on our darkness!

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You are being tested for God, and you will dishonor Him egregiously, or you will honor Him gloriously, according to your behavior when trouble is on. Remember that. 

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Suffering robs us of proud self-reliance, and casts us in an agony at the feet of God.

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Jesaja 50:10 Vem bland er fruktar Herren och hör hans tjänares röst? Om han än vandrar i mörkret och inte ser någon ljusning, skall han förtrösta på Herrens namn och stödja sig på sin Gud.

Job 13:15 I will trust Him, though He sly me.

Isaiah 50:10 Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.

Jesus saith unto him: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."