I cuddled the shivering toddler close in my arms. Her scrawny legs dangled beneath a tattered rag. My heart ached in pity for the one who left her there to die. What depths of despair would cause a mother to abandon her child? Maybe she was starving and ill herself. Maybe she didn’t have the capability to raise this child – another mouth to feed.
“Susanna!” I called to my wife. “Susanna, prepare another crib. The Good Lord has brought us another one of His babes.”
I carried the little girl, just a wisp of a thing, into my quiet study. She whimpered as I adjusted my arms about her. Sitting in the darkened room, I cried, “Oh, God our Father, I thank You for allowing us to rescue this child. Lord, we know that You will provide all that we need – food and clothing and medicine. We thank You for Your mercy and grace to us. In the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.”
I opened my eyes to see my wife standing in the doorway. Her eyes glistened with tears. “George, how can we take any more? The rooms are filled. The children are sharing beds now. We barely have enough bread for everyone. How can we feed one more?”
“My dear Susanna, God will provide. How can I not take this one? She is so weak and alone. We must help her. Never fear. God will care for His children.”
She gently took the girl. “Does she have a name?”
“No. The cook found her on the doorstep - no note nor anyone to ask.”
“Then I will name her . . . Eleanor – Ellie, for short.” She kissed the thin little cheek and bustled away.
Yes, my wife was the logical one. It was true. We had no room. We had no money to buy food or clothes or books. But she and I knew that what we were doing was God’s plan. When nothing made sense, He showed Himself strong.
Footsteps thundered past my door. “Class time must be done for the morning.” I smiled and adjusted the spectacles on my nose to continue my Bible reading. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. “Yes, Father, You can and will do more than we could ever ask or think. This orphanage is Your work – not mine.”
Long ago I vowed to only ask God for my needs. Over and over He has proven His faithfulness. Bakeries, farmers, and philanthropists gave to our cause. Some donations were only a few chickens, others as large as £5,000, but all met a specific need. “Lord, speaking of needs, could the leaky chapel roof be fixed before the autumn rains?”
Many children came to us with tuberculosis, but given nutritious food, they have survived. When smallpox, typhoid fever, and scarlet fever raged through England, only a handful of our children perished - thanks to God and the diligent care of our staff. “Lord, if it be Your will, strengthen little Eleanor, and heal her of any illnesses. Thank You for bringing her to us.”
God answered prayers for mild weather when the heaters needed repair. He directed us to a buried broken pipe. He has provided teachers and nurses and dozens of workers to care for the hundreds of boys and girls who have filled these halls. The youngsters have flourished and gone on to procuring good employment. They have been a good testimony of God’s name in the community. “Which reminds me, Lord. Henry is coming of age soon to be choosing a trade. You know how he has difficulty keeping his mind on his work. Lord, guide him in the way that is best for him.”
A knock interrupted my thoughts and prayers. A maid peeked around the corner. “Mister Müller? There’s a woman at the door with a young child. Should I show them in?”
“Yes, bring them to me.” As her footsteps echoed down the hall, I closed my eyes and smiled. “Lord, thank You for another mouth to feed.”
* George Muller started an orphanage in Bristol, England, in 1835. He was known for his great faith and answers to prayer. Charles Dickens, after investigating the conditions of the facilities, wrote of the care and love of Müller for the poor children of England. To this day, the ministry continues as The George Müller Charitable Trust.
* Psalm 68:19
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