The Ministry of Trouble



Sometimes the hardships come from extended illnesses: Charles Spurgeon, considered the greatest preacher who ever lived, suffered from extreme depression and gout, describing it this way: “Imagine placing your foot in a vice and tightening the vice as far as it will go; then tighten it four more turns.”

His wife Susannah became an invalid at age 33 and could seldom attend her husband’s services.

Troubles can come from within the family home: William Carey’s wife Dolly refused to go with him to India but was pressured to go. Their 5-year-old died and the other children continually contracted tropical diseases while there. His wife started to go insane and constantly followed him down the street berating him, accusing him of having affairs with women, even threatening him with a knife. Finally, he had to keep her in a locked room. William Carey is considered “The Father of Modern Missions.”

Molly, the wife of Methodist founder John Wesley, was so unhappy that she decided to make the famous evangelist’s life miserable as well. Because he was away often, she grew resentful of his long absences. She destroyed some of his writings, criticized him publicly and repeatedly accused him of adultery. On several occasions she left home, only returning after he begged her repeatedly. Although he had been unspeakably angry with her, he kept aiming at reconciliation.

But the home life was unhappy.

John Hampson of Manchester “once entered a room unannounced to find Molly dragging John Wesley across the floor by his hair.” Finally, she left for good. “I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her,” Wesley noted in his journal.

I read the testimony of a pastor who said that he and his wife cried every night for the first five years in their new church.

Another man in our church’s Association told me that he had to sell his house and move into an apartment because the church couldn’t support him financially.

Spurgeon said, “There is no University for a Christian like that of sorrow and trial.”

Ministry is hard and Satan is real, but God is faithful. You, dear Christian, stay the course as well “for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“Never give in. Never give in,” said Winston Churchill. “Never, never, never, never….”

You won’t. I won’t. We can’t.


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