The Man Who Got Things From God
One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy food. The children were standing waiting for their morning meal, when Mueller said, “Children, you know we must be in time for school.” Lifting his hand he said, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and said, “Mr. Mueller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some fresh bread, and have brought it.” Mueller thanked the man. No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage, and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it. No wonder, years later, when Mueller was to travel the world as an evangelist, he would be heralded as “the man who gets things from God!”1
If ever there was a man of unshakable faith, it was George Mueller of England (1805–1898). His accounts of answered prayer are legendary. Although he did many wonderful works for God in his lifetime, he is best remembered for the orphan-ages he built and ran completely on faith.
A Changed Life
Born in Prussia, Mueller had little spiritual guidance from his father. At age 10 George was found guilty of stealing from him. At 14 George was discovered carousing while his mother lay dying; and by the time he was 16, he found himself facing prison, unable to pay for his frivolity. However, desiring his son to become a clergyman only for the benefit of a parsonage in the country, Mr. Mueller supported George’s preparation for the pastorate at Nordhausen and Halle Universities.
In 1825 a friend reluctantly invited the 20-year-old Mueller to a home Bible study. This ordinary meeting of believers became a turning point in George’s life. Feeling welcome by the host and observing someone praying on his knees, Mueller marveled at such sincere faith and earnest prayer. “I am much more learned than this illiterate man,” he commented, “but I could not pray as well as he.”2 A new joy sprang up in his soul. “All our former pleasures are as nothing compared to this evening,” he said.3
That evening the simple truth of John 3:16 became real in Mueller’s heart: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” For the first time, George began to sense God’s unfathomable love for him and felt constrained to love Him in return.
Shortly after becoming a Christian, he felt the desire to share his faith abroad. This decision was immediately tested, as he fell in love with a woman whose parents would not permit her to become the wife of a missionary. So he rationalized that perhaps he wasn’t called to be a missionary after all, and he soon forgot the aspiration.
The Lord used Mueller’s friend Hermann Ball, who served with Jewish people in Poland, to redirect Mueller’s focus. Ball had given up life’s comforts to be in missions. Mueller soon broke off the relationship with the woman and became a missionary. His disillusioned father, seeing the dreams for his country house fading, disowned him.
Losing his father’s support and financial assistance for his last two years at the university made George learn to trust God to supply his needs, which became the pattern for the rest of his life. As Psalm 34:9 states, “Oh, fear the Lᴏʀᴅ, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.”
A Changed Ministry
Although he was committed to serving the Lord, Mueller found that though the Lord’s call is strong, it is not always immediately clear. In 1828 he finished his university studies and received a letter from the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews, asking him to be a missionary student for six months. He struggled to be patient, as he felt he had already spent enough time in training. He concluded, wrote biographer Arthur T. Pierson, “He who would work with God must first wait on Him and wait for Him, and that all undue haste in such a matter is worse than waste.”4
Mueller left for London in 1829. Still not an “official” missionary, he wrote his name on tracts for follow-up, preached at Jewish meeting places, read the Bible to children, and taught Sunday school.
Eventually he became the pastor of Ebenezer Chapel in Devon, where he married Mary Grove who shared his passion for ministry and his commitment to ask no one but God to sustain him financially. “There would be no more of going to man instead of the Lord. It was this decision more than anything else that makes the story of his life from this time so exciting.”5
His passion for orphans began in 1833 while pastoring at Bethesda Chapel in Bristol. He saw many homeless children living on the streets, and he began having them in his home for breakfast and Bible study. The next year he started a day school and then a small orphanage in a nearby rented house. He soon began adding more rental houses, and finally God moved him to build a bigger orphans’ home in 1849. Through the years he continued adding buildings until there was room for 2,000 orphans in five solid-granite buildings that covered 13 acres in Ashley Downs, Bristol, England.
The entire work was a miracle built on prayer and dependency on God and God alone for financial resources. George Mueller never asked for financial support and was never in debt. Yet over the course of his life, the man who got things from God had received $7.5 million for the Lord’s work, the equivalent today of $400 million.
Mueller once testified that, in his lifetime, he saw God answer 50,000 specific prayers—5,000 on the same day he asked. God used Mueller’s profound faith and reliance on Him alone to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come that God’s love knows no limits, and His grace knows no bounds. God transformed George Mueller from a young, egotistical boy to a man of faith by His irresistible grace. Yet, said Mueller, “I feel myself an unprofitable servant. How much more might I have lived for God than I have done!”6
- Ed Reese, The Life and Ministry of George Mueller, Christian Hall of Fame Series (23) <biblebb.com/files/MUELLER.TXT>.
- Arthur T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1899), 30.
- Ibid., 41.
- Roger Steer, George Müller: Delighted in God! (Wheaton IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1975), 20.
- Ibid., 60.