Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Providence of God in the Work of the Gospel, Part II

When George Müller was twenty-two years old, he learned of a missionary opportunity in Bucharest, Romania and applied for it. However, the Lord closed that door and opened the way for Müller to be a missionary to the Jews. This was welcome news, but it required him to travel to London for prayer and planning which he reluctantly agreed to do (Autobiography of George Müller, Westminster Literature, page 23-26).

But no sooner had Müller began to prepare, he ran into a major obstacle. As a University graduate, he was required to complete one year of service in the Prussian army (non-graduated were required to complete three-years of service). In certain cases, people were granted exemptions, including those who had given themselves to missionary service. Unfortunately, Müller’s first two attempts at exemption were denied and he began to fall into a depression and also fell ill.

Just at that time, a good companion of his backslid. This really through Müller for a loop, and unfortunately, he began backsliding himself. But in his grace, the Lord disciplined Müller through the pain he found in backsliding and a further illness. “Thus, the Lord, in the faithful love of His heart, seeing that I was in a backsliding state, chastised me for my profit, and the chastisement yielded, in a measure at least, ‘the peaceable fruit of righteousness’” (page 26; see Hebrews 12:10-11).

Around that time, Müller received an invitation to come to Berlin where a friend thought he might be able to help him gain an exemption from military service. After a time of prayer, he decided to go, but unfortunately, they could not attain what was needed. Finally, someone advised him to put himself forward for service in the hope that his poor state of health would disqualify him from being accepted. It was a huge risk, but Müller took it, and he was indeed found to be unfit. Then, by the amazing grace of God, he was granted a lifetime exemption from service and was given counsel and several Scriptures for the Jews from the military official who granted the exemption! Amazing. 
In a couple of weeks from now, we’ll hear about the next part of Müller’s journey, but for now, please reflect on what you’ve read and ponder the providence of God. How do you see the Lord working in Müller? What might we learn from the Lord’s work in his life? How is the Lord working through discipline and circumstances to guide you in the way you should go?

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