November 30, 1836. On account of many pressing engagements, I have not prayed about the funds for some time. But being in great need, I was led to earnestly seek the Lord. In answer to this petition, a brother gave me ten pounds. He had it in his heart for several months to give this sum, but had been kept from it, not having the means. Now, in our time of great need, the Lord furnished him with the means, he used it to help us. In addition to this ten pounds, I received a letter with five pounds from a sister whom I never saw. She wrote, "It has been on my mind lately to send you some money, and I feel as if there must be some need. I, therefore, send you five pounds, all I have in the house at this moment."
November 21. Not even a single halfpenny was left in the three houses. Nevertheless, we had a good dinner, and by sharing our bread, we made it through this day also. When I left the brothers and sisters after prayer, I told them we must wait for help and see how the Lord would deliver us this time. I was sure of help, but we were indeed in another serious situation.
When I left the meeting, I felt that I needed more exercise so I walked home a longer way. About twenty yards from my house, I met a brother who walked back with me. After a little conversation, he gave me ten pounds to provide the poor saints with coal, blankets, and warm clothing. He also gave five pounds for the orphans and five pounds for the other needs of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. The brother had come to see me twice while I was away at the Orphan House. Had I been one half minute later, I would have missed him. But the Lord knew our need, and therefore allowed me to meet him.
November 20. The boiler at the new Orphan House No. 1 leaked considerably. We thought that it would last through the winter, although we suspected it was nearly worn out. For me to do nothing and say, "I will trust in God" would be careless presumption, not faith in God.
The condition of the boiler could not be known without taking down the brickwork surrounding it. What then was to be done? For the children, especially the younger infants, I was deeply concerned that they would suffer for lack of warmth. But how were we to obtain heat? The installation of a new boiler would probably take many weeks. Repairing the boiler was a questionable matter because of the size of the leak. Nothing could be decided until the brick-chamber was at least partially removed. That would take days, and what was to be done in the meantime to find warm rooms for three hundred children?
At last I decided to open the brick chamber and see the extent of the damage. The day was set when the workmen were to come, and all the necessary arrangements were made. The heat, of course, had to be shut off while the repairs were going on.
After the day was set for the repairs, a bleak north wind set in, bringing the first really cold weather of the winter. The repairs could not be put off, so I asked the Lord for two things-that He would change the north wind into a south wind, and that He would give to the workmen a desire to work. I remembered how much Nehemiah accomplished in fifty-two days while building the walls of Jerusalem because "the people had a mind to work" (Neh. 4:6).
The memorable day came. The evening before, the bleak north wind still blew, but on Wednesday, the south wind blew, exactly as I had prayed. The weather was so mild that no heat was needed. The brickwork was removed, the leak was soon found, and the repairmen set to work.
About half-past eight in the evening, when I was going to leave for my home, I was informed that the manager of the repair firm had arrived to see how the work was going on. I went to the cellar to see him and the men. The manager said, "The men will work late this evening and come very early again tomorrow."
"We would rather, sir," said the foreman, "work all night:"
Then I remembered the second part of my prayer-that God would give the men "a mind to work." By the next morning, the repair of the boiler was accomplished. Within thirty hours the brickwork was up again, and the fire was in the boiler. All the time, the south wind blew so mildly that there was not the least need for any heat.
On November 18, 1830, our money was reduced to about eight shillings. When I was praying with my wife in the morning, I was led to ask the Lord for money. Four hours later, a sister said to me, "Do you want any money?"
I replied, "I told the brethren when I gave up my salary that I would tell the Lord only about my wants."
She said, "But He has told me to give you some money. About two weeks ago I asked Him what I should do for Him, and He told me to give you some money. Last Saturday the thought came again powerfully to my mind and has not left me since."
My heart rejoiced at seeing the Lord's faithfulness, but I thought it was better not to tell her about our circumstances, lest she would be influenced, to give accordingly. If it was of the Lord, she would be moved to give. I turned the conversation to other subjects, but she gave me enough money to last all week. My wife and I were full of joy on account of the goodness of the Lord. He did not try our faith much at first, but allowed us to see His willingness to help us. Later, He tested our faith more fully.
The next Wednesday I went to Exmouth. Our money was again reduced to about nine shillings. I asked the Lord on Thursday to please give me some money. On Friday morning about eight o'clock, while in prayer, I was led to ask again for money. Before I rose from my knees, I felt fully assured that we would have the answer that same day. An hour later, I left the brother with whom I was staying, and he gave me some money. He said, "Take this for the expenses connected with your coming to us." I did not expect to have my expenses paid, but I saw the Lord's fatherly hand in this blessing.
When I came home about twelve o'clock, I asked my wife whether she had received any letters. She told me she had received one the day before from a brother who sent three sovereigns. Thus, even my prayer on the preceding day had been answered. The next day one of the brethren came and brought me four pounds which was due to me as a part of my former salary. I did not even know that this sum was due to me. Within thirty hours, in answer to prayer, I received seven pounds ten shillings.
Throughout 1830, the Lord richly supplied all my temporal needs, although I could not depend upon any human for a single shilling; Even regarding temporal things, I had lost nothing by acting according to the dictates of my conscience. In spiritual things, the Lord dealt bountifully with me and used me as an instrument in doing His work.
Waiting for Christ