Never the Same :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

Never the Same

Joanne Landon
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You know how it is. Something or someone came into your life, and you were never the same again.

It was so with the song thrush. From that tiny pair of lungs, this little chorister blessed my husband and me beyond words.  But we only noticed him when my husband was on a waiting list for surgery, and ongoing pain forced him to spend more time at home. Current circumstances enabled a fresh perspective. In God’s providence, hidden riches came to light (see Isaiah 45:3).

It was so with my Sunday School teacher in high school. She opened Scripture in such a new and applicable way—that I hoped, even as a teenager, that someday I too might be such a teacher.

It was so with a faithful pastor, at his post for over 50 years. His gospel fervency and trumpet call to duty, rallied good soldiers of Jesus Christ. 

It was so with that one verse. The one that jumped off the page and spoke to you as no other could. It was God’s “love letter” to you, so real and personal that it wouldn’t matter if others cared or totally understood.  You knew it was God’s message to you.

It was so with the one phrase of a particular song. You knew the hymnwriter had your similar experience, and no matter how many decades or miles lay between your two lives, those words ministered to your heart as nothing else had done.

It was so with that one experience—the one that only God could have orchestrated. Perhaps it was a timely provision. Or the stranger who stopped to help.  Or that circumstance that finally did “work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Or perhaps it was a friend from the distant past who somehow came back into your life. Or a life’s lesson now mercifully learned, and Lord willing, would never need to be repeated.

Maybe for you, it was that moment you walked an aisle in surrender, or wrote that date in your Bible, or wept on your knees. Or stood at the grave of your loved one. Or served on a foreign field.

Whatever it was, you were never the same. That experience remained etched in your heart and mind, and forever changed you. God had your attention, and the way ahead seemed more hallowed. Less selfish. More focused.

George Müller had his own experience that set the course of his life.  Living in Bristol, England, during the mid-1830s, Müller witnessed a pathetic number of orphaned and homeless children due to a cholera outbreak. They not only begged on the streets but also came to his door for food. As the local pastor, Müller wanted something to be done to provide long-term relief for these sad souls in tattered, dirty clothes and emaciated bodies. So he asked God, and two years later he and his wife opened an orphan house for 30 girls with a matron and governess.

When Müller died six decades later, 10,000 orphans had come through his ministry. God provided five purpose-built homes, where over 2,000 children at a time were fed, clothed, and educated—spiritually as well as academically. When they came of age for employment, none left without a vocational skill. The boys learned gardening, woodworking, or chicken farming. The girls became nursery workers, cooks, or seamstresses. Müller did not broadcast needs, but His trust in the prayer-answering God saw provision after provision, as children were rescued from destitution, debauchery, and disease—all the while with Müller continuing to pastor the church, support foreign missionaries, and fund gospel literature and Bible distribution around the world. In a world of spiritual and moral darkness, Müller trusted God to lead and provide through the power of prayer.

Throughout his ministry, Müller prayed in 1.5 million pounds, a sum which today equals more than 100 million pounds.  He lived to be 93 in an era when life expectancy was in the low forties. He shunned the limelight, did not want his photo taken, and for over 50 years gave up any regular salary, preferring to live a humble, simple life.

What, all so straightforward? No discouragements or trials? Maybe you are thinking, surely those super-saints don’t still exist today. But Müller himself experienced deep heartache that tested his faith. Two of his own four children were stillborn, and another died before his second birthday. His only surviving child also died before Müller.  

Yet, there were miracles upon miracles in Müller’s life and ministry. One morning when his orphans had no food for breakfast, a local baker rose the night before (at the Lord’s bidding through a sleepless night) to bake bread for the orphans. This bread was delivered just in time for the children’s breakfast. At another time of need, a milkman’s cart broke down outside the orphan homes, and free milk was donated to the children. Several times when funds were very low, the last post of the day brought the needed amount. Throughout Müller’s long and eventful ministry, never a bill went unpaid nor was a need unmet by prayer.

Interestingly, Müller did not think he was endued with any special privileges that weren’t also available to every believer. He believed if people studied the character and nature of God, they too could see the variety of helps available to God’s children—power, wisdom, lovingkindness, and mercy.  Müller taught that praying faith could be strengthened by claiming God’s promises, keeping the heart and conscience pure, trusting Christ alone, and waiting for His answers.

Although Müller became renowned in his generation for housing orphans, he made it clear that his chief motives for that ministry were primarily the glory of God and the strengthening of the saints through faith in God and His provision. Following that, the spiritual life of the orphans and the evident provision of their temporal needs were important to him.

So it is in the midst of our need also. As we ask for God’s divine help, He strengthens our faith and confirms His purpose. When we seek His glory, not only are our souls are refined, but Christ’s church is refined as well. Temporal wants fade in comparison with eternal values, and one is never the same again.

With the child of God, there are no chance happenings. Something or someone comes into our lives to sharpen our focus, purge the dross, and show us the nobility of God’s cause. Faith grows stronger; prayers become more fervent and sanctified, and even the wait can prove a blessing.

From the trill of a wild bird with no concern for that next crumb to the feeding of the 5000, God grasps our attention to show us the thrill of His power. He reminds us Who is Almighty!

 


Sources: Personal visit to the Muller Museum - January 2020

Several biographies of Muller, and email from the museum’s curator to verify facts (such as amounts in today’s money).

Photo by Waldemar Zielinski from Pixabay

 

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