Miller Ministry of Comfort

Miller Ministry of Comfort is a deep life work on God’s comforting of his saints in the sufferings and persecutions of their lives.

The Ministry of Comfort
J. R. Miller, 1898

Section 1
Glimpses of Immortality
Why Trouble Comes
“But He for our Profit”
Love in Taking Away
Trouble as a Trust
Some Blessings of Sorrow
Comfort in God’s Will

Section 2
Jesus as a Comforter
God Himself the Best Comfort
The Duty of Forgetting Sorrow
Effectual Prayer
The Effacement of Self
One Day
The Culture of the Spirit

Section 3
The Secret of Serving
The Habit of Happiness
Thinking Soberly
Stumbling at the Disagreeable
The Duty of Thanksgiving
Things Which Discourage Kindness
Putting Away Childish Things

A theological professor used to say to his students, “Never fail in any service, to have at least a word of comfort. No congregation, however small, ever assembles, but there is in it a person in sorrow, who will go away unhelped, if in scripture lesson, hymn or prayer, there is nothing to lift up a heavy heart.”

No book for devotional reading would be complete, however full of other lessons, if it contained nothing for those who are in sorrow. In this little volume special prominence is given to the ministry of comfort, in the hope that the book may make some hearts braver and stronger in the hard and painful ways of life. It is affectionately dedicated to those who are called to pass through trial.

More Modules on Sanctification

Extract from this work

Why Trouble Comes

There is always a mystery in sorrow. We never can understand for certain, why it comes to us. We cannot but ask questions when we find ourselves in the midst of trouble. But many of our questions must remain unanswered until earth’s dim light becomes full and clear in heaven’s glory. “What I do—you cannot now understand,” said the Master; “but you shall understand hereafter.”

Some godly people make the mistake of supposing, when any trouble comes upon them, that they have displeased God in some way and that He is punishing them for it. This was the thought in the minds of the disciples, when they asked the Master for whose sin, his own or his parent’s, a certain man had been born blind. Jesus answered that the blindness had been sent for no one’s sin—but for an occasion of good and blessing, for an opportunity of revealing the mercy and gentleness of God. When we have sorrow or suffering, our question should not be, “What have I done that God is punishing me for?” but, “What is the mission of this messenger of God to me?”

If we would always greet pain or trouble in this way, with welcome, reverently, in Christ’s name—we would be in an attitude for receiving whatever blessing or good God has sent to us in it. There is no doubt that whatever trouble comes to us—that it comes from God on an errand of love. It is not some chance thing breaking into our life, without purpose, without intention. It is a messenger from God, and brings blessings to us. Our trouble is God’s gift to us. No matter what it may be—duty, responsibility, struggle, pain, unrequited service, unjust treatment, hard conditions—it is that which God has given to us. No matter through whose fault or sin it may have come to us, when the trouble is ours—we may say it is a gift of God to us. Then being a gift from God, we may be sure that it has in it a divine blessing. As it comes to us, it may have a stern aspect, may seem unkindly, even cruel—but folded up in its forbidding form, it carries some treasure of mercy.

It is easy to find illustrations of this truth. The world’s greatest blessings have come out of its greatest sorrows. Said Goethe, “I never had an affliction which did not turn into a poem.” No doubt the best music and poetry in all literature had a like origin, if we could know its whole story. It is universally true that poets “learn in suffering what they teach in song.” Nothing really worth while in life’s lessons, comes easily without pain and cost.

Readers who find in certain books of Christian experience words which are bread to their spiritual hunger, which cheer and strengthen them, which shine like lamps on their darkness, showing them the way, do not know what it cost the writer to prepare these words, how he suffered, struggled and endured, in order that he might learn to write the sentences which are so full of helpfulness. This is one of the rewards of suffering—the power to light the way for other sufferers.

Many of the beneficences which have brought greatest good to the world have been the fruit of a bitter sorrow or a loss which seemed overwhelming. When Dr. Moon of Brighton was at the very ripeness of his powers and the summit of his achievements, he became totally blind. It seemed a terrible calamity that a man so brilliant, fitted to be so helpful to humanity, should have his career of usefulness thus ruthlessly ended. For a time his heart was full of rebellious thoughts; he could not and would not submit. He could see no possible goodness, nothing but unqualified misfortune, in the darkening of his eyes which had put an end to his career among men. But in his darkness, he began to think of others who were blind and to ponder the question whether there might not be some way by which they could be enabled to read. The outcome of his thought was the invention of the alphabet for the blind, which is now used in nearly every country and in every language, by means of which three or four million of blind in all parts of the world can read the Bible and other books. Was it not worth while for one man’s eyes to be darkened, in order that such a blessing might be given to the blind of all lands?

In personal experience, too, countless of life’s sweetest blessings and joys are born of sorrows. For many a man the things of earth on which he has set his heart are blighted, that his affections may be lifted to things heavenly and eternal. There are many who never saw Christ—until the light of some tender human beauty faded before their eyes, when, looking up in the darkness, they beheld that blessed Face beaming its love upon them.

A writer tells of a little bird which would not learn to sing the song its master would have it sing, while its cage was full of light. It listened and learned a snatch of this, a trill of that, a polyglot of all the songs of the grove—but never a separate and entire melody of its own. Then the master covered its cage and made it dark; and now it listened—and listened to the one song it was to learn to sing, and tried and tried and tried again until at last its heart was full of it. Then, when it had caught the melody, the cage was uncovered and it sang the song sweetly ever after in the light.
As it was with the bird, so it is with many of us, God’s children. The Master has a song He wished to teach us—but we will not learn it. All about us earth’s music is thrilling, and we get but a note here and there of the holy strain that is set for us. Then the Master makes it dark about us, calling us aside to suffer, and now we give heed to the sweet song He would teach us—until we can sing it through to the end. Then when we have once learned it in darkness, we go out into the light and sing it wherever we move.

When we think thus of troubles, as bearers of God’s best blessings to us, they begin to wear a more helpful aspect to our thought. They come not to us lawlessly, breaking into our life with their loss, anguish, and terror—without God’s permission. They do not come laden with hurt and marring, for us. They come as God’s servants, and they bear in their hands divine blessings. They come not as avenging messengers to inflict punishment—but as angels of love to chasten us, perhaps to cure us of follies and sins, to lead us nearer to God, to bring out in us more beauty of Christ.

No trouble of any kind ever comes to us—but it brings us something which will be a blessing to us, if only we will accept it.

But we must receive these divine messengers reverently, with hospitable welcome, as of old men received and entertained angels who came to their doors. Too often sorrow’s gifts are not accepted, the messengers are not welcomed, and they can only turn and bear away again the blessing which they had brought in love—but which we would not take.

It is a serious thing to have troubles come to us, and not be graciously welcomed by us. We turn Christ Himself from our doors when we refuse to admit what He sends to us, though it be a sorrow or a loss. We thrust away heavenly treasures, shutting our heart against them. The only true way to deal with trouble—is to open our door to it as coming from God on an errand of love, its hands filled with priceless gifts for our true enriching.

More Works from J.R. Miller

Miller Ministry Of Comfort
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Author:Miller, J.R.
Date:August 10, 2021