A second post on another significant lesson I learned from my Personal Spiritual Disciplines (PSD) class this past semester. This takeaway did not come from Dr. Whitney, the teacher of the course, but from George Muller, a man who’s been dead for over 100 years. Though being dead he still speaks:
One of the books that we read for PSD was Roger Steer’s biography of George Muller, Delighted in God. I highly suggest this book. It is very encouraging and challenging; it is only 250 pages; it reads at short ten pages a chapter; it is a really good story; and it’s barely over ten bucks at Amazon (see link above). I read through this book by going a chapter at a time first thing in the morning for about a month. This was a helpful practice for me and set the tone for a fruitful day of prayer and meditation on God’s faithfulness.
A quick overview of Muller’s life and then to the central lesson I took away from the book: George Muller basically lived the entire century of the 1800s. He was born in Germany in 1805 and died in England in 1898. Like me, George became a Christian in college. A friend had him over to a home Bible study and he couldn’t fight the urge to keep going back to learn about Jesus from the Bible. Eventually, his eyes were opened to truth of the gospel and he put his trust in Christ. After college he left for England to live amongst the Jewish population and minister the gospel to them. Plans changed and he started an orphanage. At this time in England orphans were rampant. Muller’s orphanages were a huge success. Over the course of the rest of the century he built multiple different buildings to house and educate orphans, eventually buying his own large piece of property. The kicker to all of this growth is that he did it without ever asking anyone for money, anyone except the Lord. It is widely known that Muller was fully committed to this principle: “The only one who will know our needs is the only One who needs to know.” Muller prayed and God provided…big time.
In the second half of the century Muller became internationally known as a man of faith. His trust in God demonstrated through the success of his orphanages earned him invitations to preach (another gift Muller had but is not as well-known for) all over the world.
As he grew older and was around more crowds he was constantly asked, “What’s the secret to your strong faith?” Steer records his answer on page 242-43:
‘My faith,’ he said, ‘is the same faith which is found in every believer. Try it for yourself and you will see the help of God, if you trust in Him.’
Then Muller goes on to say that are things that he did to strengthen his faith. He speaks of four things. These words are easily worth the price of the book:
‘First, read the Bible carefully and thoughtfully. Then you will learn more and more about God’s character–how kind, loving, merciful, wise and faithful He is. Then when difficulties come, you will be able to rest on God’s ability and willingness to help you.
‘Second, try to keep your conscience clear. Don’t make a habit of doing things which are displeasing to God. Otherwise when your faith is tested, you will have no confidence in God because of your guilty conscience.
‘Third, don’t try to avoid situations where your faith may be tested. Naturally we don’t like trusting in God alone but it is when we do this that our faith is strengthened.
Finally, remember that God won’t test you more than you are able to bear. Be patient, and He will prove to you how willing He is to help and deliver, the moment it is good for you.’
There is one of these four that has particularly affected me, and I will share more concerning that experience on my next post. Until then, praise God for the long, faithful life that He gave to George Muller. May Muller’s story strengthen the roots of our faith in the Sovereign Lord!