Sally Clarkson has convinced me that I need to be filling my children’s heads full of tales of real-life heroes, as well as imaginary ones. Who better to start with than George Müller? I happened to get this Christian Heroes: Then and Now title in a box of books I purchased from an almost retired homeschooling buddy of mine (her youngest daughter is a senior!), so without much forethought I just plunged into Müller’s story. I knew he was a man who prayed about everything and who founded an orphanage, but I didn’t know much more than that. What we learned from George Müller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge was that and a whole lot more. We learned that although he was studying to be a pastor, he lived a life of dissoluteness before coming to Christ. We learned that once he committed his life to Christ, he never looked back; instead, he looked up to God to meet his every need. We learned that his passion was to care for the orphans of Bristol, England–those who, because of the lack of social services and the time in which they lived, would be penniless, cold, sick, hungry, and who knows what else. We learned that he didn’t found just one orphanage; he founded several, and every one of them was founded purely on faith. Müller refused to ask people for money; instead, he depended on God to speak to people to meet the needs of the orphanages. He also founded a Christian education ministry, supported countless missionaries, and served as a missionary himself to many, many countries in his old age. All of this he accomplished by what seems to be a very simple faith in God.
We all found this story inspiring, interesting, and suspenseful. While this is not fine literature (and it’s not well proofread–I noted several errors in our copy), I am very glad to have this book and several more from the series in our home library. I can definitely see my girls reading this one and the others on their own just for fun. My heart was most definitely touched by George Müller, and I know that none of us will soon (if ever!) forget his story. It felt like a little hug from heaven when the minister who spoke at our church on Sunday mentioned Müller in his sermon, just four days or so since we finished this biography. 🙂
This passage characterizes George Müller very well:
Again and again, George added up the books, only to find that the orphan houses did not have a penny for food. Each time he prayed, money arrived in the nick of time. Given the pressing need, there was a temptation to use other money to meet it, but George stood firm. On one occasion a check for two hundred twenty pounds arrived from a wealthy landowner in the area. The cover letter with the check said the money was for the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad [George’s Christian education ministry]. George knew that all he had to do was to ask whether it could be used for the orphans and the wealthy landowner would immediately agree. But George would not ask. He wanted nothing to do with manipulating circumstances. God had promised to provide for them all, and George would continue to pray and believe that. He would not take money that had been given for one thing and use it for something else. (132)
We give this book a Highly Recommended. (YWAM Publishing, 1999)