One of the distinguishing marks of George’s Mueller’s life was his absolute dependence upon God for all things.
“By the grace of God, I desire that my faith in God should extend towards everything, the smallest of my own temporal and spiritual concerns, and the smallest of the temporal and spiritual concerns of my family, towards the saints among whom I labor, the church at large, etc.” (Mueller, p.31)
He demonstrated this dependence by taking all his concerns to God in prayer. Mueller sought never to resolve a problem by leaning upon man or upon human methods, but instead by leaning wholly upon God. Thus, he made it a rule never to reveal the financial state of the orphanage to anyone or to ask for funds.
(Though we don’t have to imitate Mueller in all the specifics of the way he did things – we certainly should be challenged by his willingness to depend upon God alone in all things.)
He began his work with the orphans by depending upon God for guidance and strength. His journals make it clear that he continually cried out to God to provide the means to open the orphanage, the staff to run it, and the money to support it. He writes, “So far as I remember, I brought even the most minute circumstances concerning the Orphanage House before the Lord in my petitions, being conscious of my own weakness and ignorance.” (Mueller, 14,15) He ran the orphanages with an attitude of absolute dependence upon God. Story after story illustrates his humble attitude. For example, in November of 1838, he did not even have a single half-penny to pay for food for any one of the three orphan houses. What did George do? He did not get anxious, rather he took the matter to His father in prayer. He was confident that God would provide, even though he didn’t know how. He began to walk home after praying with his staff, but since he felt he needed exercise, he walked the long way home. Only twenty yards from his home he met a friend who gave him twenty pounds to meet his needs. Had George been one half minute late, he would have missed him. George always depended upon God, and God always provided. This attitude gave George great hope and confidence. He writes, “They that trust in the Lord shall never be confounded! Some who helped for a while may fall asleep in Jesus; others may grow cold in the service of the Lord; others may be as desirous as ever to help, but have no longer the means . . . were we to lean upon man, we should surely be confounded; but, in the leaning upon the living God alone, we are beyond disappointment, and beyond being forsaken because of death, or want of means, or want of love, or because of the claims of other work. How precious to have learned in any measure to stand with God alone in the world, and yet to be happy, and to know that surely no good thing shall be withheld from us whilst we walk uprightly.” (Mueller, p.19)
George often demonstrated his absolute trust in God. One of his biographers tells of an occasion when a rich man and some of his lady friends were visiting the orphanages. Amazed at the care the orphans were receiving, they looked at George and asked him if he had a large bank account so that he could provide for all these children. George simply answered, “Our funds are deposited in a bank which cannot break.” This was quite a statement, as George did not have a penny at the time to provide for the children. (George Mueller of Bristol, Pierson, p.158)
George longed for all believers to depend upon God entirely. He did not want anyone to think that his situation was unique, but instead constantly exhorted Christians to take all their concerns to God in prayer. He often told Christians to make everything a subject of prayer, and to expect answers to requests they have made according to God’s will, and in the name of Jesus. We live in a day and age – where it is easy to forget our dependence upon God – after all, we have credit cards, money in the bank account, etc. We must be very careful never to substitute dependence upon human things for dependence upon God. We need to folow in Mueller’s footsteps and rely on God for everything, demonstrating our attitude of complete dependence by making a habit of constant prayer.