George Müller’s Life Of Trust (Part 2)
One evening while reading the Scriptures, George Müller was much struck by the verse, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psa. 81:10). He applied this to the orphanage he felt led to establish and asked the Lord for premises to rent, for one thousand pounds and for suitable personnel to manage the orphanage. Two days later, he received the first shilling toward the orphanage. Workers offered themselves. Friends brought in such things as household articles, furniture and material for clothing and bedding. A suitable house was found to rent. Gifts of money came. But it required eighteen months of daily praying before the full £1,000 came in.
One sacrificial gift of one hundred pounds came from a very poor sister who was not well in body and able to earn but little doing needlework. She had come into a modest inheritance and having used a good portion of the inheritance for family needs, she gave this one hundred pounds for the orphanage. When questioned whether she should give so much, her answer was: “The Lord Jesus has given His last drop of blood for me, and should I not give Him this one hundred pounds?”
Although Mr. Müller had prayed minutely over details involved in establishing the orphanage and needs had been supplied, he had not thought to pray for children. When the time came to open the orphanage, not one application had come. He sought the Lord earnestly in prayer about applications and the next day the first one came. The house quickly filled up with children ages four to twelve and, after prayer, he also felt led to open a home for infants.
Within a year and a half after the first home opened, a third orphanage was opened, this one for boys ages seven to twelve. Miraculously a house on the same street as the first two homes became available for this purpose. Mr. Müller now had responsibility for feeding ninety each meal, including staff. With a “family” of this size, Mr. Müller was much on his knees, giving himself to prayer. He believed God would be “inquired of” (Ezek. 36:37). His wife and two close co-workers were the only ones he shared with concerning the funds and that for reason of joined prayer.
During the first years of the orphanage homes, there were many financial trials. On one occasion when funds were very low, Mr. Müller called two special prayer meetings with all the staff from six until nine in the evening. Even then he did not mention the condition of the funds but spoke about the abundance with which God had been meeting needs.
One evening during this crisis, he was meditating on Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” He wrote, “I was led to say to myself, Jesus in His love and power has hitherto supplied me with what I have needed for the orphans, and in the same unchangeable love and power He will provide me with what I may need for the future. A flood of joy came into my soul....” Soon after, an envelope with twenty pounds was handed him.
As the financial trial continued, he wrote: “The Lord in His wisdom and love has not yet sent help. Whence it is to come need not be my care. But I believe God will, in due time, send help. ...This is the most trying hour that as yet I have had in the work, as it regards means; but I know that I shall yet praise the Lord for His help….”
Several days later he wrote: “The Lord mercifully has given enough to supply our daily necessities; but He gives by the day now and almost by the hour as we need it….” As the crisis continued, the Lord kept Mr. Müller in peace despite the severe trial, and He allowed him to be encouraged by seeing fruits of his labors. During this time, he found it needful to call the staff together and tell them of the severe need. It was agreed to buy nothing they could not pay for so as not to go into debt. Some of the workers gave all they had, some selling books and other items to help with the need.
God’s Continued Faithfulness
One day they were reduced to the place of planning to sell anything they had on hand they could spare. Before this became a necessity, a lady from London came with enough money for the next day’s provision. She had been staying next door for several days with the intent of delivering the funds. Mr. Müller’s reaction to this was: “That the money had been so near the orphan houses for several days without being given, is a plain proof that it was from the beginning in the heart of God to help us; but because He delights in the prayers of His children, He had allowed us to pray so long; also to try our faith, and to make the answer much the sweeter. It is indeed a precious deliverance. I burst out into loud praises and thanks the first moment I was alone after I had received the money….”
Although the needs of the orphan houses were great, Mr. Müller felt to pray for funds to come in also for the poor widows of the community as the price of bread had increased. A brother was led to give a good gift for this purpose, which assisted a number of widows until the price of bread dropped a little.
One lady, who supported herself with the work of her hands, drew her savings out of the bank and gave all to the work which was under Mr. Müller’s care. Her heart had been touched by the Scriptures: “Sell that ye have [sell your possessions], and give alms” (Luke 12:33), and “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth” (Matt. 6:19).
There are entries in Müller’s diary that read: “Today we were especially poor….” Once he recorded: “After the Lord has tried our faith, He, in the love of His heart, gives us an abundance, to show that not in anger, but for the glory of His name, and for the trial of our faith, He has allowed us to be poor....”
One crisis time of need for the homes was met by the gift of a poor German missionary who was just embarking on missionary service, and the gift he gave was all he had. At another time, a sister who had taken upon herself to sell some articles so as to have funds to give, reported that although she was not feeling well and would have delayed her coming with the proceeds from the sale, yet it was laid so strongly upon her heart to come at once that she could not stay away. Funds were needed at that very moment she delivered them.
During another severe trial of faith, the Lord laid it on the heart of a brother on his way to work to give a gift for the orphans. He thought he would not go back immediately but would take something that evening. But the Lord so constrained him that he turned his steps right then to the orphan houses. Had it not been for his gift, there would not have been milk for the children that day.
Some days the need was so urgent that the workers were greatly tried. But God did not fail! These “nick-of-time” provisions made Müller to exclaim: “Truly it is worth being poor and greatly tried in faith for the sake of having day by day such precious proofs of the loving interest which our kind Father takes in everything that concerns us! And how should our Father do otherwise? He who has given us the greatest possible proof of His love which He could have done in giving us His own Son, surely He will ‘with Him also freely give us all things’” (Rom. 8:32).
He could write: “Our trials of faith during these seventeen months lasted longer and were sharper than during any previous period, yet during all this time the orphans had everything that was needful in the way of nourishing food, the necessary articles of clothing, etc.”
In spite of the great trials of faith in operating three orphan homes, Müller felt led to open a fourth. A home miraculously opened up on the same street and was rented to accommodate more children.
Another heartbreaking trial was seeing his father and brother die seemingly unsaved. What could be harder? Yet even in this he found peace in God’s Word: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). He turned to the Word of God for comfort and peace also when lying reports were circulated, saying that the orphans had not enough to eat or were being cruelly treated. He shared: “At such times my soul was stayed upon God; I believed His word of promise which was applicable to such cases; I poured out my soul before God, and arose from my knees in peace, because the trouble that was in the soul was in believing prayer cast upon God, and thus I was kept in peace…. I thought it needful to make these remarks, lest anyone should think that my depending upon God was a particular gift given to me, which other saints have no right to look for. …Let not Satan deceive you in making you think that you could not have the same faith….”
Strengthening One’s Faith
George Müller encouraged every believer to prove God and shared some suggestions for strengthening one’s faith:
Since faith is a gift, it should be asked for. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (Jas. 1:17).
Faith is strengthened by careful reading of the Word of God and meditating upon it. This will teach how in addition to being a holy and just God, He is a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise and faithful God, not only having ability to meet our needs, but willingness.
It is necessary to keep an upright heart and a good conscience.
We must not shrink from the trials by which our faith is strengthened. Do not shrink from standing with God alone, from depending upon Him alone, from looking to Him alone.
In time of trials, we must not seek our own deliverance but wait upon God for His deliverance.
(To be continued)
– Arranged from the book, The Life Of Trust, by George Müller.