Have you ever looked up to someone you never met? For Christians, this is a loaded question usually followed by a list of Biblical heroes. Others will point to people from history. Great figures that made an impression on this world. I have a hero like that. His name is George Mueller.
George Mueller was a man of faith who lived during the 1800’s and looked after orphans. While this may not be Earth shattering, God’s work in Mueller’s life set him apart.
One of my favorite stories involves breakfast. The orphanage had nothing to serve. Yet, Mueller had everyone sit down for breakfast. Mueller prayed, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” A knock on the door followed the prayer. It was the baker, with fresh bread. He had been unable to sleep and had baked bread for the orphanage. Mueller told the children, “we not only have bread, but fresh bread”.
After the baker, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down and his milk was going to spoil. He asked if the orphanage had a need for milk.
Mueller’s prayer was evidence of his faith. And for Mueller’s faith to be proven there had to be a need.
One of the reasons I love to read stories about George Mueller is because he is a post-Biblical hero. His life is evidence that God’s miraculous works did not end in the first century. So many times I fear we live as if God does not still work this way.
In my own life I have experienced God’s “right on time” provision. Nothing on the scale of George Mueller. But it made me consider what it would be like to have faith like George Mueller. As I was rolling these thoughts around in my head a new thought occurred to me. It is not the faith of George Mueller that is important. It is the God of George Mueller that is important.
Mueller wrote this in response to Daniel 6:20, when King Darius refers to Daniel as a servant of “the living God”:
“How many times we find this expression in the Scriptures, and yet it is just this very thing that we are so prone to lose sight of! We know it is written the living God; but in our daily life there is scarcely anything we practically so much lose sight of as the fact that God is the LIVING GOD; that He is now whatever He was three or four thousand years since; that He has the same sovereign power, the same saving love toward those who love and serve Him as ever He had, and that He will do for them now what He did for others two, three, four thousand years ago, simply because He is the living God, the unchanging One. Oh, how therefore we should confide in Him, and in our darkest moments never lose sight of the fact that He is still and ever will be the LIVING GOD.”
As much as I respect and admire George Mueller I will never have faith like his by looking to George Mueller. My focus needs to be on the object of George Mueller’s faith. The same living God who spoke to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, and Paul. The same God sent His Son, part of the triune GodHead, to walk the dusty streets of this Earth and pay the price for my sins.
This same God still does mighty works today. He still moves on behalf of our prayers, which in essence is our conscious pursuing of Him. When we set our hearts to pray, we make the decision to seek God. When we set our hearts to read His word, we make the decision to seek God. And when we make the conscious decision to trust Him in times of hardship, we make the decision to seek God.
These are the important things. The small, everyday choices to seek God as often as possible, in as many areas of our lives as possible. Then, we can appreciate when He moves on our behalf because we recognized His movement as an answer to our prayers.
One last piece of advice from George Mueller. He gave these insights into his own life:
- Seek to get your heart in such a condition that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Do not depend upon feelings or impressions.
- Seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God.
- Take into account providential circumstances.
- Ask God in prayer to reveal His will clearly.
Mueller goes on to say, “Thus, through prayer to God, the study of His Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. I have found this method always effective.”
As we head into a most unusual Thanksgiving, let our hearts find their joy in the God of our salvation and not in our circumstances. Let our hope be grounded upon God’s word rather than our feelings or opinions. May God use each of us to be a blessing to those around us. And may God use us to share His good news with anyone who needs it.