Every child’s tummy grumbled with hunger. There was no bread on their plates and no milk in their glasses. The hungry children were gathered and anticipating breakfast, as they had done every morning at George Müller’s orphanage in Bristol, England. This was not the first (or last) time the orphanage ran out of provisions. Despite the fact that there was no food on the table, Müller led the children and staff in a prayer of thanksgiving. “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat,” he prayed with humble confidence. He didn’t like the way things looked, but he gave thanks to the Lord anyway.
And God came through. There was a knock at the door; it was the local baker. He informed Mr. Müller that he had been awake all night because the Lord had burdened him to bake bread for the children. “Children,” Müller exclaimed, “we not only have bread, but fresh bread.” Then came a second knock; it was the milkman. Normally, milk was brought at eight o’clock and paid for upon arrival. The milkman, however, offered the children all of the milk that morning because his milkcart had broken down in front of the orphanage, and the milk would have spoiled had he waited for a wheel to finish his rounds.
Many more miracle stories can be found in his journal, Answers to Prayer, which he wrote while overseeing orphanages in the mid to late nineteenth century. One November, the boiler went out. Nevertheless, he gave thanks—and God sent workmen who repaired it in less than 30 hours. When 262 children contracted measles, he gave thanks and prayed for help. God answered. “All the 262 children not only recovered, but did well afterwards,” he wrote. In 1838, there was “not a single half-penny” in their bank account, and yet, he gave thanks. Hours later, he met a brother on the street who gave £10 to the orphanage.
George Müller truly exemplified the kind of thanksgiving that God expects of all believers:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
Friend, you might not like the looks of things right now. Perhaps an illness or physical ailment is holding you back from doing the things you enjoy. Maybe a prodigal son or daughter has shattered your heart. You could be suffering from depression or anxiety. Perhaps you are uncertain how you will pay your bills this month. But giving thanks in every circumstance is essentially praying, “Lord, I don’t like the looks of it, but I will give You thanks anyway.”
Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.