In my last post, I wrote about “George Müller—A Great Faith in a Great God.” Today I would like to continue this amazing story to encourage you to lean hard upon the Lord within your own families. Here is Part 2 of the story: “George Müller’s Trust in God—An Example to Us All.”
George Müller’s Trust in God—An Example to Us All
You may remember in Part 1 of this story that a cholera epidemic had broken out in England. The Lord was merciful to the Müllers and spared them. Though George had bouts of illness, he never got cholera, and he lived to see the epidemic pass. There was, however, an interesting side effect to the cholera epidemic. It left Bristol with countless numbers of orphans.
One day, a little girl in tattered clothes, just 5 or 6 years old, approached George Müller on the street. She was piggybacking her little brother, who was fighting a bad case of the sniffles. The girl asked George for money, saying her mother had died of cholera and her father was missing. George gave her the money she asked for but couldn’t get her off his mind. As the little orphan girl wandered away, he wondered where she would sleep and what would become of her little brother if she too were to become ill. It burdened George that not enough was being done for the poor and parentless children of Bristol.
Though he was still entertaining the idea of leaving England for a foreign mission post, God laid it on his heart to stay right there and offer hope to the destitute. Now, there have been many fine souls who have started agencies and ministries to care for the poor and homeless. But few were shaped like George Müller. From the very beginning, he decided never to ask anyone to fund his vision to care for orphans! He believed that if it were of God that he feed, clothe, and educate these children, then the supplies and staff would come. (As you will learn, they did!)
George started with a daily Breakfast Club where he opened up his own home to hungry children. He offered them warm water to clean their little faces and hot oatmeal to fill their empty stomachs. Then, to nourish their souls, he read Scripture and acted out Bible stories. The Breakfast Club was a great success and the experience of it led George to expand his ministry.
By faith, in 1834, George Müller created the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. He formed this organization for four purposes: to teach the Gospel, to provide education to destitute children, to give Bibles to the poor, and to support foreign missionaries. It was an enormous plan that skeptical church members scoffed at! It was probably the scoffing and lack of faith from some of George’s own church members that inspired him all the more toward prayer. He so wanted the faith of his congregation to grow. He so wanted them to learn to trust God with prayer and provision.
Without asking others for funding, George Müller opened numerous orphanages in Bristol. He and his wife delighted in seeing the Lord answer their prayers for provision. Therefore, George continued with the Scriptural Institution and indeed saw hundreds attend the schools he opened or helped. Did he ever once go into debt? No. God supplied everything that was needed.
Soon after founding the Scriptural Institution, George Müller made the life-changing decision to expand it by adding a fifth purpose. He decided to trust God to build, staff, and supply the needs of an orphanage designed to house girls from 7 to12 years old. He opened his first orphanage in 1836, and it filled up quickly, so George opened another orphanage, and then another, and then another. Did he have the money to do it? No, not on paper, but this fact never stopped George Müller. He faithfully held prayer meetings with his staff, day after day, praying for the Lord to provide as they needed.
George Müller filled his entire autobiography with example after example of God’s sweet answers to prayer. On July 15, 1831, he wrote:
Two pounds seven shillings was needed for the orphans, but we had nothing. I had no idea how to obtain the means for dinner and for our other needs. My heart was perfectly at peace and sure of help. That afternoon I received a letter from India, written in May, with fifty pounds for the orphans.
On another occasion, George wrote:
Because so little has come in during the last days, at least three pounds was required to supply the needs of today. Not one penny, however, was in hand when the day began. In the afternoon, all of us met for prayer. . . Now observe how our kind Father helped us! This evening a sister who sells some things for us brought two pounds ten shillings sixpence. Though she did not feel well, she said she had come because it was on her heart, and she could not stay away.
It is evident to me in reading George Müller’s autobiography that God’s provision wasn’t meant to encourage only George Müller. I think it was meant to touch the lives of those who felt God tug on their hearts to give. George thought this, too. He said,
“The chief end for which the institution was established is that the Church would see the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in answer to prayer.”
I could go on and on about the faith of George Müller. After 35 years of caring for 2,000 orphans in Bristol, George handed the ministry over to his son-in-law in order to fulfill an old calling to the mission field abroad. George Müller spent the next 17 years traveling about the globe, teaching and preaching the Gospel. His favorite stories to tell were those of God’s provision for the orphans. Because George had once been a gambler and a thief, his testimony was especially powerful.
Do you think George Müller was ever discouraged by his tough assignment? I think he was at times. But I’ll end this story with his glowing testimony of God’s faithfulness:
Many years have passed since I made my boast in God by publishing reports of this ministry. Satan unquestionably is waiting for me to fall. If I was left to myself, I would fall prey to him at once. Pride, unbelief, or other sins would be my ruin and lead me to bring disgrace upon the name of Jesus. No one should admire me, be astonished at my faith, or think of me as if I were an amazing person. No, I am as weak as ever. . . . Nevertheless, I do not find that this work leads to a trying life but a very happy one. It is impossible to describe the abundance of peace and heavenly joy that often flows into my soul because of the answers I obtain from God after waiting on Him for help and blessing.
“George Müller’s Trust in God—An Example To Us All” is adapted from The Mystery of History Volume IV. For more information about The Mystery of History curriculum, and a free audio sample, click here.