I've been re-reading The Autobiography of George Muller over the past few days. Though I have read it a number of times, an incident he wrote about really jumped out at me earlier today. It is funny how you can read something over and over again and suddenly, you have an "ah-ha moment". That's exactly what happened to me today.
It was February 2, 1846. George Muller had been waiting upon God about building an orphan home for 91 days. Currently orphans were housed in four rental homes on Wilson Street in Bristol, England. Over the past few months, however, George Muller had been seeking God as to whether or not property should be purchased and an orphanage built or if they should seek additional rental property.
If you are not familiar with George Muller, you need to know that he did not believe in going into debt. He believed in quietly taking your needs before the Lord and God would provide in due season what you needed, when you needed it. Therefore, if this orphan home was to be built, God would have to provide the right location as well as the funds to build, furnish and maintain it.
On February 2nd, George Muller heard about some property on Ashley Down. On February 3rd, he viewed the land and wrote that it was the best land he had seen and he decided he would contact the owner about purchasing the land.
On February 4th, he set off for the owner's house. When he arrived, he was informed that the owner was not at home but he could be found at his place of business. George Muller headed to the man's place of business but when he got there, he was told he had just missed the man by a few minutes. The man was on his way home.
Now, I would like you to think about what you would have done next if you were George Muller. Now that you have that figured out, I will tell you what I would have done. I would have hurried back to the man's house or at least tried to catch up with him. What about you?
Here is what George Muller wrote in his journal on February 4th:
I could have gone back to his house, but I did not do so, judging that it was God's will that I did not find him at either place. I decided not to force the matter but to "let patience have her perfect work."
The next day, Mr. Muller finally met with the owner of the land and the owner related something very interesting to him. It seems that at 3:00 a.m. the man had awakened and was unable to go back to sleep. While he was lying there, he kept thinking about the piece of land he had heard George Muller wanted for the Orphan House. As he lay there thinking about it, he decided that if George Muller wanted to buy it for the orphans, he would sell it to him for 120 pounds per acre instead of the 200 pounds an acre he was asking for.
Now, George Muller wanted nearly seven acres. If he would have seen the man on February 4th, he would have paid nearly 1,400 pounds for the land. He would have seen the man before God talked to him. Rather than dash ahead of God on February 4th and pursue that man to his house, George Muller decided to "wait upon the Lord". He allowed God to do what He was going to do; talk to that man in the middle of the night. As a result, the property was purchased for about 840 pounds. That was a price reduction of 40%. That's not a bad deal, is it?
After reading this, I got to thinking about how many times I run ahead of God, trying to make things happen. Patience is not one of my strong points and if I am not very careful, I will jump right in, feet first, splashing about and making a mess of everything. I need to slow down and "let patience have her perfect work." Hmm... what a novel idea! What would happen in our own lives if we would stop running ahead of God and simply follow Him instead? I have a feeling we would see some pretty amazing things begin to happen so let's do it. Let's resolve to quit running ahead of God and trying to make things happen. Instead, let's be obedient, stand back... and see what God will do.
Today's ethos has squeezed us into its mould of 'wanting it now' - instant gratification is not a term God understands.