I’m currently reading a simplified and dramatised biography of George Muller to Heidi and Pippa each night. We’re up to Chapter 11 and are reading mostly one chapter a night, so we must have coincidentally started around the beginning of the year. It has been such a great read. George Muller was a man who did many different things as he felt called by God, but primarily he started the first orphanage in Bristol, England, at a time when the only other alternative for an orphan was the poorhouse. He also educated both children and adults through schools and Sunday schools. Throughout all of these different experiences though, perhaps what George Muller is best known for is his absolute reliance on God for provision of all things practical and financial.
I’m also reading through 1 Corinthians at the moment, and the verse in Chapter 12 (referring to Spiritual gifts) that says ‘To one there is given… faith by the same Spirit’. When I read that verse I immediately thought of George Muller and thought ‘Now there was a man with the gift of faith.’ George refused a regular salary instead relying on the provision of God through the generosity of his people, and time and time again the Lord provided just exactly what George, his family and the orphans needed at exactly the right time.
Paul and I are (God willing) planning to return (with our kids of course!) to Japan at the end of March this year. But to be able to do that we need a certain amount of finances to be given clearance to get back to the field. We are currently on roughly 80% of our budget but need 100% pledged before mid February. It seems that from a human standpoint that it is impossible that we will leave as we hope. But yesterday Paul and I had a quiet evening to chat, and as usual, Japan and our hopes and dreams came up. Most importantly though, we reflected on all that God has provided for us up until this point.
We reflected on this time roughly 12 months ago, as we looked ahead to our return to Australia for 12 months, with no house, no school for the children, no cars, no furniture. We had not one idea of how any of these things would come to be. And yet, time after time, the Lord God provided just exactly what we needed. The very house that we are living in, the cars we have been driving, the toys, many of the clothes, our furniture, bikes for all of us, car seats, prams, crockery, school uniforms, the list goes on much more – all have been provided to us in more wonderful ways than we could ever have imagined. While the past 9 months here in Australia has most definitely not gone according to our human plans, the Lord has absolutely provided all that we have needed and of course has been with us each step of the way.
As I shared last night with Paul of feeling discouraged and struggling to believe that the Lord can truly get us there, it did help to reflect. Just as the Israelites were told again and again to remember all that the Lord had done for them and their ancestors, I too must remember. On top of the encouragement that such memories bring, God graciously provided me with some encouragement today. An email from someone entirely out of the blue, encouraging us in our service in Japan greatly lifted my spirits, as did an email with a financial pledge for us as we plan to return. Even the small things, like encouragements when we need them, can spur us on and remind us of what our good and loving Father in heaven can do. Even just this morning I was despairing over Henry’s poor sleeping habits and cried out to God in prayer (complaint?) and this afternoon and evening Henry has slept so much better. Our God truly does care, and meets our needs just as He knows is best. Lord, may I remember this and remember your goodness, faithfulness and ability to provide us with all we need in every step of life.
George Muller lived a very long time ago, and the Lord provided in miraculous, and at times almost unbelievable ways. That same God is able to provide in the same way now, as we trust Him and leave our lives in His care. Our mission organisation, OMF, looks at financial provision by the Lord as confirmation on His call to mission believing that the Lord’s supply proves his call. While it is not an easy road and there is a temptation to seek an easier, more stable route, I too believe this. If the Lord calls, surely He will provide. Please pray for me, for us, for all of us, to work hard at relying on the ability of the Lord to provide all that we need in one moment. May we all be people of faith. For the Lord surely is able.