Monday, February 24, 2014

Radical gratitude

Radical Gratitude
 The following is an excerpt from the diary of George Muller, who founded orphanages in Victorian England.

August 18, 1838: I have not one penny in hand for the orphans. In a day or two again many pounds will be needed. My eyes are up to the Lord. Evening. Before this day is over, I have received from a sister five pounds. She had some time since put away her trinkets, to be sold for the benefit of the orphans. This morning, whilst in prayer, it came to her mind, I have this five pounds, and owe no man anything, therefore it would be better to give this money at once, as it may be some time before I can dispose of the trinkets. She therefore brought it, little knowing that there was not a penny in hand, and that I had been able to advance only four pounds, fifteen shillings and five pence for housekeeping in the Boys' Orphan-House, instead of the usual ten pounds.
August 23: Today I was again without one single penny, when three pounds was sent from Clapham, with a box of new clothes for the orphans.
Muller was later to look back on the period from September 1838 to the end of 1846 as the time when the greatest trials of faith were experienced in the orphan work. They were not years of continuous difficulty: rather there tended to be a pattern of a few months of trial, followed by some months of comparative plenty. During the whole period, according to Muller, the children knew nothing of the trial. In the midst of one of the darkest periods, he recorded, "These dear little ones know nothing about it, because their tables are as well supplied as when there was eight hundred pounds in the bank, and they have lack of nothing." At another time he wrote, "The orphans have never lacked anything. Had I had thousands of pounds in hand, they would have fared no better than they have; for they have always had good nourishing food, the necessary articles of clothing, etc." In other words, the periods of trial were so in the sense that there was no excess of funds: God supplied the need by the day, even by the hour. Enough was sent, but no more than enough.

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 261. 

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