George Mueller was a Christian evangelist who cared for over 10,000 orphans in the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England during his lifetime. While that in and of itself is remarkable, what really sets the story of Mueller apart was that he did all his charitable work on behalf of orphans without ever soliciting a single dime.
He never once asked for money or donations of any kind. Instead, Mueller’s life is littered with stories of his simple faith, praying on a near daily basis for God to provide for he and his orphans. One of my favorite stories starts with one morning in the orphanage when 300 children woke up with no food for them to eat. Mueller instructed that the kids be taken into the dining room and sit down at the tables for breakfast. Then he led them in prayer, thanking God for the food.
And then they waited.
A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. The town baker was standing there and said, “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”
But the Lord was not finished, because there was soon another knock at the door. The milkman’s cart had broken down in front of the orphanage, and he said that the milk was going to spoil out in the street. Rather than have it go to waste the milkman wondered if Mueller’s children could use it. There was just enough for 300 children.
So what does a simple man of great faith in England have in common with the greatest king of Israel?
They both were bolstered in the present by actively remembering God’s faithfulness in the past.
David was confronted with his own desperate situation one day. The obstacle before him was not the feeding of 300 orphans; it was a Philistine who mocked the living God of Israel. So how did a shepherd, with little to no combat experience, find the courage to walk without armor into the path of Goliath holding only a sling and a few small stones?
He found it from the past:
“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:37).
And now here is my favorite quote from George Mueller:
“If God fails me this time, it will be the first time.”
Every time we trust in God’s willingness, faithfulness, and power to provide what we need in the fashion He knows is right ought to be easier than the last. Because every time we trust God we have more examples of the past of His faithfulness.
This is not a blind trust we have as Christians. This is not a last ditch resort effort. Our lives, like the lives of Mueller and David, are strewn with the faithfulness of God if we would only take the time to remember. So today, when we look at some circumstance big or small that is causing us a measure of anxiety, let our trust be built on the great acts of God in the past. Above all, let us call to mind that the One in whom we are trusting did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all.
Let us walk forward in faith, knowing that if God fails us at this time, then it will indeed be the first time.