George Mueller, born into a German tax collector’s family, was often in trouble. He learned early to steal and gamble and drink. As a teenager, he learned how to stay in expensive hotels, then sneak out without paying the bill. But at length, he was caught and jailed. Prison did him little good, for upon release he continued his crime spree until, on a Saturday night in 1825, he met Jesus Christ.
Mueller married and settled down in Bristol, England, growing daily in faith and developing a burden for the homeless children running wild and ragged through the streets. At a public meeting in Bristol on December 9, 1835, he presented a plan for an orphanage. Several contributions came in. Mueller rented Number 6 Wilson Street, and on April 11, 1836, the doors of the orphanage opened. Twenty-six children were immediately taken in. A second house soon opened, then a third.
From the beginning, Mueller refused to ask for funds or even to speak of the ministry’s financial needs. He believed in praying earnestly and trusting the Lord to provide. And the Lord did provide, though sometimes at the last moment. The best-known story involves a morning when the plates and bowls and cups were set on the tables, but there was no food or milk. The children sat waiting for breakfast while Mueller led in prayer for their daily bread. A knock sounded at the door. It was the baker. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast, so I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some fresh bread.” A second knock sounded. The milkman had broken down right in front of the orphanage, and he wanted to give the children his milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it.
Such stories became the norm for Mueller’s work. During the course of his 93 years, Mueller housed more than 10,000 orphans, “prayed in” millions of dollars, traveled to scores of countries preaching the gospel, and recorded 50,000 answers to prayer.
Don’t worship foreign gods Or bow down to gods you know nothing about. I am the Lord your God. I rescued you from Egypt. Just ask, and I will give you whatever you need. (Psalm 81:9,10)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). April 11.