Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
"Faith," alleged the agnostic Samuel Clemens, known as Mark Twain, "is believing what you know isn't true but wish it were." George Mueller wouldn't have agreed. And who was George Mueller? In the event that this name doesn't register, let me explain briefly. As his name suggests, Mueller was born in Kroppenstaedt, Prussia, and began his education in the classics in a German university. Invited to the home of a friend, he heard a man drop to his knees and pray in such a way that he was deeply convicted and eventually was converted.
Mueller spent most of his life in Christian work, but unlike most people today, he never asked anyone for money—not once. His secret was faith in God, and he believed God for the means of feeding and clothing more than 10,000 orphans. Mueller wrote, "Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His word. This assurance, this reliance of God's Word, this confidence, is faith."
Okay, Mueller says that faith is not walking in the dark but acting on the promises of God's Word. But even this presents us with a problem. How do we find the courage to act on what we already know?
For example, in this marvelous Book we read dozens of promises, marvelous things which God has promised. But for many of us, there is a gulf between what we believe, theoretically, and what we do—what we put into practice in our lives. Part of the problem is that we tend to make the Christian life far more complex than it really is. For the most part, it is relatively simple. We know far more than we often do.
We soon learn that the real struggle is often a matter of our will, wanting to be completely in control of our destiny instead of trusting in the promises of God and simply doing what we know we are supposed to do. It is little wonder that God allows our faith to be tested, for only then can we be sure that indeed God has met us at the point of our need.
We all want the blessing of God's deliverance. Who wouldn't? But it takes the testing to help us know that God is there and that He keeps His word. Human nature, though, being what it is, we'd just as soon skip the challenge. We prefer deliverance without going through the fire and flood. We're much like the people who lived in a certain area which was flooded by a river that had overflowed its banks. The government sent in helicopters to take out the people whose homes had been inundated by the waters. Chopper after chopper left with full loads of people. "How many people are there around here?" someone finally asked, and they began counting. More than 135 people had been airlifted, but only 78 people lived in that village. "What's going on?" asked the sergeant in charge of the evacuation. The folks there so enjoyed the helicopter ride that they were coming back by small boats to enjoy another helicopter ride out of the area. Right!
Okay, what's the point of today's Guidelines? When you face periods of testing, faith is holding on to what you know is true and walking in the light which God has given to you. This means you won't understand everything, but you keep on trusting and await God's provision and deliverance. A closing thought: Understand that with God's demand for simple obedience comes His promise to provide and protect. For George Mueller it was trusting for the more than eight million nineteenth-century dollars necessary to feed the orphans of Britain. For you, it may be trusting God for your daily bread, or the strength to get through another day. But the good news is that Jesus Christ is the same "yesterday, today, and forever." You can trust God. He is honor-bound to fulfill His promises.
Resource reading: Philippians 1:1-30