Recently my husband and I received an unusual envelope. It was addressed to Mr. & Mrs. George Mueller. Yes, our last name is Mueller, but my husband is most definitely not George. He is, in fact, Greg. I laughed at the obvious mistake, realizing immediately that the sender must have come from a Christian circle. But my husband, who is relatively new to Evangelical circles did not get it. I began to explain to him who George Mueller was, and the significance that he played in the history of Christianity. I quickly laughed off the incident, but the envelope has come back to my mind several times over the weeks since we received it.
Soon afterwards, I relapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. For the past month, I have not been able to leave bed, and I have found myself frequently frustrated. One night I found myself asking God what good I was doing Him when I was stuck in a bed with no end in sight. I even dared to ask when He had ever used anyone else when they were this debilitated. Service is supposed to be active. Not sitting in a bed. Who could possibly ever be used that way?
Again, the envelope came to mind. Having nothing better to do at the moment, I decided to do a little reading on Mr. George Mueller. I came across a blog specifically about George Mueller and began to read in fascination. I had often heard stories of his faith, his hours spent in prayer, and his refusal to ask anyone for money. As I sat there reading, I began to wonder what had inspired that kind of faith. You see, I’ve known a lot of Christians, and there have been a lot more that I’ve never known; but very few have ever had the reputation that Mr. Mueller had. I have also been around enough to know that this kind of faith does not come by accident, and it doesn’t come easy.
As I continued reading, I began to learn what had developed his faith so greatly. On two different occasions early in his ministry, George Mueller had developed severe illnesses that required him to be confined to bed. On both occasions, doctors were doubtful that he would live, and confident that he would lead a confined life. During those times of confinement, George Mueller decided to make wise use of his time. He decided that if he could do nothing else, he would read his Bible and pray. So, for over a year at time, he committed himself to reading nothing other than the Holy Scriptures, meditating on them, and communing with God.
Upon his healing, George knew that his life would never be the same. He committed for the rest of his life that he would live simply by the Scriptures no matter what the world did around him. He would not depend on others to provide his needs, but he would trust that His Father would provide his needs so long as Mr. Mueller asked God for the provision. He was faithful to ask for everything that he needed; and God would consistently provide for him, usually at the last possible moment.
As I read this, I was humbled and troubled. Here I have sat for the better part of two years in my bed. I have read books, watched lots of meaningless television, and played quite a few video games. I’ve definitely read my Bible more than I did in the past, and I’ve developed a prayer life that I never had before. But it made me wonder how much more I could have done if I had committed to only spending time with my Savior.
Could I have been healed sooner? Would I be out ministering? Or is my deepest fear true: will I never leave this bed and be able to minister to others in the way my heart desires?
But there again, God brought me comfort. After facing two illnesses early in his ministry, Mr. Mueller went on to run his orphanages until he was over 70 years old. At that point, he stopped only because he and his wife felt called to missions. For the next 17 years, George and Susannah traveled the world (reportedly over 3,000 miles) reaching everyone that they could for Christ, still without asking one cent from anyone for their needs.
If God could heal him and allow him to serve for that long throughout the world, then there is still hope that God can use me too.
How about you?
Have you ever been at a place where you felt like you were being put on the shelf? Are you there now? What did you learn while you were there?
Are you at a cross-roads in your life? Do you think that perhaps there is something a little more out there, but the path is unknown and you are not sure of your next step?
God has promised us that He will guide us each step of the way.
Isaiah 30:21 tell us, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
Have you taken the time to be still and learn to recognize that voice? I encourage you today to take a few extra minutes. Find a quiet place, and be still. Open your heart and mind to that still, small voice; and be prepared to listen. I promise that if you do, your life will be changed. Probably not in an instant, but one step at a time.
My sweet Jesus, thank you today for the precious sisters that you have brought together filled with desire to know more about you. Perhaps there are some reading today who have no idea how they got here; but once they started reading, they knew they had to continue. Perhaps there are others who have been seeking for answers. Whisper in their ears even now. Spirit, comfort and soothe each of us today. Bring us quiet and peace in the midst of the storms that we will face. Father, you have said that you will direct our paths. Lead us today one step closer to Your glory. In Jesus’ precious name we ask, amen.