George Muller – Building an Orphan House
This is a story about God making His will known thru the circumstances of life and thru other people. It is a story about trial, and faith, and patience. It is also about how God faithfully provided when provision was necessary. And of course how God moves in the hearts of men.
For nearly ten years I never had any desire to build an Orphan House. On the contrary, I preferred spending the funds which came in for present needs, enlarging the work according to the means the Lord gave.
But at the end of Oct, 1845, I was led to consider this matter in a way I had never done before. I received a letter from a gentleman who lives on the street where the 4 Orphan Houses were. He courteously informed me that the residents in the nearby houses were inconvenienced by the Orphan Houses on Wilson Street. He asked me to do what seemed best to me about the matter.
George admitted that the man had a point. The houses were crowded and with no proper playground and the noise issue was a real one. George started praying about it and he made a list of reasons for moving and a list of reasons for staying.
He writes, after I had spent a few hours in payer and consideration over the subject I began to see that the Lord was leading me to build. His intentions were to benefit the orphans and better order of the whole work. Furthermore, He wanted to show that He could and would provide large sums for those who need them and trust in Him for them. During no period had the number of the applications for the admission of orphans been greater than just before I was led to think about building.
God does often make His will known thru the circumstances of life. George also knew that God also uses the counsel of others to make His will known. So he talked to his wife about it and all of the workers. They all agreed that they should build.
Sufficiently large premises to accommodate 300 children would be needed together with a large piece of ground near Bristol for the building and a small farm. This would cost at least 10,000 pounds. I was not discouraged by this but trusted in God.
We continued meeting for prayer every morning for 15 days, but not a single donation came in. But my heart was not discouraged. The more I prayed, the more assured I was that the Lord would provide.
On Nov 15 a brother arrived to work for a little while in Bristol. I told him about having to move the orphans from Wilson street, He felt that it was God’s will that I build. This dear brother’s judgment greatly encouraged me. He also suggested that I seek God’s direction for the design of the building. He said, you must ask help from God to show you the plan, so that all you do may be according to the mind of God.
On the 36th day after I began to pray, I received 1,000 pounds for building the Orphan House. It was the largest single donation I had ever received.
Dec. 13. My sister in law told me that she met a gentleman in London who read the story of the Lord’s dealings with me. She told him that I planned to build an Orphan House, and he, an architect, offered to make the plan and supervise the building gratuitously. He is also a Christian. The fact that this offer comes unsolicited and from a Christian architect especially shows the hand of God.
Dec. 24. No further donations have come in, but my hope in God is unshaken. He most assuredly will help.
Dec. 29. This evening I received 50 pounds. This donation is exceedingly precious to me not only because it was cheerfully given, nor even because of its size, but because it is another precious proof that God will provide for the building.
Jan 31. It is now 89 days since I have been daily waiting upon God about the building of an Orphan House. The Lord will soon give us a piece of ground, and I told the brothers and sister so this evening.
Feb 2. Today I heard of suitable and inexpensive land on Ashley Down.
Feb 3. The land on Ashley Down is the best of all I have seen.
Feb 4. This evening I called on the owner of the land on Ashley Down, but he was not at home. I was told that I could find him at his business. I went there, but he had left a few minutes earlier. I could have gone back to his house, but I did not do so, judging that it was God’s will that I did not find him at either place. I decided not to force the matter but to let patience have her perfect work.
Feb 5. This morning I saw the owner of the land. He told me that he awoke at 3 o’clock this morning and could not sleep again until five. While he was lying awake, he kept thinking about the piece of land he had heard I wanted for the Orphan House. He decided that if I want to buy it, he would let me have it for 120 pounds per acre, instead of 200 pounds, the price which he had previously asked. How good the Lord is! The agreement was made this morning, and I purchased a field of nearly 7 acres.
July 4. My faith and patience have been exceedingly tried. Great difficulties arose about my possessing the land after all. But, by God’s grace, my heart was kept in peace, being fully assured that if the Lord took this piece of land from me, it would only be for the purpose of giving me a still better one. In the midst of this great trial of faith, I could not help thinking that the difficulties were only allowed for the trial of my faith and patience. Last evening I received a letter stating that all the difficulties were removed. In a few days, the deed will be transferred.
July 6. The reason why so little came in for the building fund during the last serval months seems to be that we did not need the money at that time. When it was needed and when my faith and patience had been sufficiently tried, the Lord sent more. Today 2,000 pounds for the building fund were given to me.
It is impossible to describe my joy in God when I received this donation. I expect answers to my prayers, and I believe that God hears me. Yet my heart was so full of joy that I could only sit before God and praise Him.
Dec 9. It is now 400 days since I have been waiting upon God for help to build the Orphan House. But as yet He keeps me in the trial of faith and patience. By His grace my faith is not in the least shaken. I am quite sure that He, in His own time, will give me everything I need concerning this work.
Jan 25, 1847. I have prayed with increased earnestness that the Lord would speedily send the remainder of the required amount. I believe that the time is drawing near when the Lord will give me all I need to begin to build. I rose from my knees this morning in full confidence not only that God could but also would send the money soon. About an hour after I had prayed, the sum of 2,000 pounds was given to me for the building fund. I have awaited 447 days upon God for the amount we needed. How great is the blessing the soul obtains by trusting in God and by waiting patiently. From Dec. 10 1845 to Jan. 25 1847 I have received solely in answer to prayer, 9,285 pounds.
July 7. Work on the building was begun today. Finally, after I sought the help of God for 607 days, he has given me the desire of my heart.
April 29. The total amount that I have received for the building fund is more than 11,000 pounds. This sum enables me to meet all the expenses connected with the purchase of the land and the building of the house. Praise the Lord!