January 25, 1847. The season is approaching when the building may begin. I have prayed with increased earnestness that the Lord would speedily send the remainder of the required amount. I believe the time is drawing near when the Lord will give me all I need to begin to build. I rose from my knees this morning in full confidence not only that God could but also would send the money soon.
About an hour after I had prayed, the sum of two thousand pounds was given to me for the building fund. I cannot describe the joy I had in God when I received this donation. I have waited four hundred and forty-seven days upon God for the amount we needed. How great is the blessing the soul obtains by trusting in God and by waiting patiently. From December 10, 1845 to January 25, 1847, I have received, solely in answer to prayer, nine thousand two hundred and eighty-five pounds. The Lord is willing to give what will be needed once the new Orphan House is built, although the expenses will be about two thousand five hundred pounds a year more than they were before.
From the opening of this institution it had been my desire to use part of the funds to aid missionaries who are not supported by regular salary. During the last two years, the Lord has allowed me to do so in a far greater degree than before. I know that many who preach the Word do not have any salary to live on and are in need.
Some may say that these people should trust in God. If they preach Jesus as the only hope for the salvation of sinners, they should set a good example by trusting God for the supply of their temporal necessities. This would encourage unconverted people to trust in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of their souls. But I also felt that I, as their brother, should try to help them as much as I could. My own money would go only a little way, so I began to pray more earnestly than ever for missionaries. The Lord answered my daily supplications, and I was honored to send nearly three times my usual amount of support to them.
I have asked God to direct me especially to send support to those who might be in particular need. I also tried to share with them an encouraging word to strengthen their hearts in God. These dear brethren have been helped not only by the money in a temporal way but also in the help that has refreshed and strengthened their hearts to trust in God even more.
March 9. How good is the Lord in helping me week after week through the heavy expenses, especially in this time of deep economic distress and scarcity of provisions! To His praise I can say we have lacked nothing all winter.
When sight ceases, it is the time for faith to work. The greater the difficulties, the easier it is for faith. As long as human possibilities for success remain, faith does not accomplish things as easily as when all natural prospects fail. During the time of poverty, our expenses were considerably greater than usual. Many people who otherwise might have supported us were unable to do so or had their surplus directed into other channels. But the gold and silver are the Lord's. To Him we made our prayer, and in Him we put our trust. He did not forsake us. We went as easily through that winter as through any other. God used this time as a special opportunity of showing the blessedness of trusting in Him.
May 11. I have been able to meet all the expenses connected with housekeeping during the coming week. The children have lacked nothing. Never were provisions as expensive as they are now. The bread and rice cost almost twice as much as eighteen months ago, and the oatmeal is nearly three times as expensive. No potatoes can be purchased because of the high prices.
In these days of financial struggles, the question naturally arises, "If you only have to care for one hundred and thirty orphans, and you are so poor, what will you do when there are three hundred?" Such thoughts do not trouble me. The Lord can supply all the financial means that the work will require when the new Orphan House is opened, as easily as He does now.
July 7. Work on the building was begun today. Finally, after I sought the help of God for six hundred and seven days, He has given me the desire of my heart.
February 3, 1848. Someone may say, "You are continually in need. No sooner is the one demand met than another comes. Doesn't it seem like a trying life? Aren't you tired of it?"
I am more or less continually in need in connection with this work. God has supplied me with money to continue, and I enjoy telling people how He has answered my requests. But money is by no means the chief thing that I stand in need of from day to day.
Sickness among the children is always a difficult trial. Prayer is required for money, medicine, and guidance and wisdom from God.
Sometimes children are hired out as household help or apprentices. Finding a suitable place for them is important; however, it is more difficult than obtaining money. Sometimes I have waited upon God for many weeks to have this need supplied, but He has always helped.
Sometimes my need of wisdom and guidance is great in order to know how certain children should be treated under particular circumstances. A need in this respect is no small thing, although I have been helped when I waited patiently on God.
When one of the laborers must leave the work on account of health or other reasons, I am in far greater need than when I require money for the institution. Such a need can only be supplied by waiting on God.
One of the greatest difficulties connected with this work is to find suitable godly persons for it. Many things are to be considered-suitable age, health, ability, experience, love for children, true godliness, preparation to bear with the many trials and difficulties connected with it, and a strong desire to labor, not for the sake of the money but to serve God.
To find godly persons with these qualifications is not an easy matter. I am not looking for perfect fellow-laborers, nor do I suppose that my fellow-laborers are without weaknesses, deficiencies, and failings. I myself am far from perfect. But I try to find suitable individuals in whom, as much as possible, the above qualifications are united.
The laborers should work happily among themselves, and then I can work easily with them. I must be their servant; and yet, I must maintain the place of authority God has given me over this work. This need is far greater than any that is connected with money. These matters lead a person to call upon God! Truly, I am in continual need.
Many years have passed since I made my boast in God by publishing reports of this ministry. Satan unquestionably is waiting for me to fall. If I was left to myself, I would fall prey to him at once. Pride, unbelief, or other sins would be my ruin and lead me to bring disgrace upon the name of Jesus. No one should admire me, be astonished at my faith, or think of me as if I were an amazing person. No, I am as weak as ever. I need to be upheld in faith and every other grace.
Nevertheless, I do not find that this work leads to a trying life but a very happy one. It is impossible to describe the abundance of peace and heavenly joy that often flows into my soul because of the answers I obtain from God after waiting on Him for help and blessing. The longer I have had to wait on Him, or the greater my need is, the greater the enjoyment when at last the answer came. I am not in the least tired of this way of life because I expected difficulties from the very beginning. For the glory of God and the encouragement of His dear children, I desired to pass through them, if only the saints might be benefited by the dealings of God with me.
The longer I go on in this service, the greater the trials of one kind or another become. But at the same time, I grow happier in my service and more assured that I am employed as the Lord would have me to be. How then could I be tired of carrying on the work of God? God has proved many times that He is faithful to His Word: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
The great business which the disciple of the Lord Jesus has to be concerned about is to seek the Kingdom of God. I believe this means to seek the external and internal prosperity of the Church. If we seek to win souls for the Lord Jesus, we are seeking the external prosperity of the Kingdom of God. If we help our fellow-members in the Body grow in grace and truth or care for them in any way, we are seeking the internal prosperity of God.
In connection with this, we also have to seek His righteousness. This means to seek to be more and more like God-to seek to be inwardly conformed to the mind of God. If these two things are attended to diligently, we come to that precious promise: "And all these things [that is, food, clothing, or anything else you need for this present life] shall be added unto you."
Do you make it your primary business and your first great concern to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Are the things of God, the honor of His name, the welfare of His Church, the conversion of sinners, and the profit of your own soul, your chief aim? Or does your business, your family, or your own temporal concerns primarily occupy your attention? Remember that the world will pass away, but the things of God will endure forever. I never knew a child of God who acted according to the above passage for whom the Lord did not fulfill His promise, "All these things shall be added unto you."
April 29. The total amount that I have received for the building fund is more than eleven thousand pounds. This sum enables me to meet all the expenses connected with the purchase of the land and the building of the house. Praise the Lord!