In carrying out Christian ministry and in our other circumstances of life, God has a way of leading us to exercise faith in Him. He does so to keep us dependent on Him, to strengthen our faith in Him and to increase our appreciation of Him. George Muller was reminded of these truths time and again throughout his years of faith-filled ministry. Muller’s example encourages us to similarly trust God in our own faith-stretching situations of life.
For the first two years after establishing his orphan ministry in Bristol, England, Muller was blessed with a steady stream of God’s provision for the ministry. But then during the summer of 1838 Muller’s faith was put to the test when donations for his three orphan houses seemed suddenly to dry up.
One evening he was walking in his garden meditating on Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Presently the pressing need of the orphan houses came to his mind, and he was promptly led to say to himself: “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 what I may need for the future.” A sense of joy flowed into his soul.
Barely one minute later a letter was brought to him. It contained a gift of twenty pounds (equaling 100 dollars, a goodly amount in 1838). The Lord’s timing was evident, confirming both the teaching of His Word and the claiming of that truth in faith by His servant.
By that September 18 all available funds for Muller’s orphan houses were again exhausted. He and his staff had been praying earnestly about the pressing need but received no apparent answer. Consideration was even being given to selling some household items deemed not absolutely essential in order to provide the next day’s food.
The middle of that afternoon a lady called at Muller’s home. She explained that she had come from London to Bristol four or five days earlier and had been staying right next door to the boys’ orphan house that entire time. She then presented Muller with a contribution to his ministry from her daughter in London.
Muller later wrote: “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 so much the sweeter.”
The following spring one of the orphanage’s annual reports came into the hands of a man in Devon who immediately perceived the ministry’s need for ongoing financial assistance. The man had a Christian sister of means, and he began praying that she would be led by God to donate some of her valuable jewelry for the support of the orphans.
Not long thereafter Muller received from the woman a gift of a heavy gold chain, a ring set with ten diamonds, a pair of gold bracelets and a cash donation of two pounds. Before parting with the costly diamond ring, Muller used it to neatly etch the words “Jehovah Jireh” (“the Lord will provide,” Genesis 22:14) on a pane of glass in his room. Many times afterwards his heart was cheered when he caught sight of the words on the glass and remembered this particular instance of the Lord’s remarkable provision.
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These accounts of George Muller’s God-dependent faith, as well as many other incidents from his life, can be found in my book Timeless Stories, God’s Incredible Work in the Lives of Inspiring Christians (Christian Focus). Copyright 2022 by Vance E. Christie