January 3, 1842. This evening we had a precious prayer meeting. When the usual time for closing the meeting came, some of us wanted to continue to wait upon the Lord. I suggested that those who had bodily strength, time, and a desire to wait longer upon the Lord, do so. At least thirty remained, and we continued in prayer until after ten. I never knew deeper prayer in the Spirit. I experienced an unusual nearness to the Lord and was able to pray in faith, without doubting.
January 4. The Lord has answered all our requests concerning the daily needs of the orphans. We have had an abundance these last several days, but the expenses have been great also.
February 5, We have only received as much as needed to provide for the orphans each day, and there is again great need. Now, at twelve o'clock, no means exist, as yet, to meet the expenses of today. The words in the prayer of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chron. 20:12, "Neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee," are at this moment the language of my heart. I likewise do not know what to do, but my eyes are on the Lord. I am sure that He will help us this day also.
Evening: In the morning one pound ten shillings came in through the sale of some articles. We were able to supply all that was needed for today.
February 8. Enough food is in all the houses for the meals of today. But we have not been able to buy any bread, and there is not enough money to buy milk tomorrow morning. Coal is also needed in two houses. Indeed, as far as I know, we were never in greater poverty. But I am fully assured that the Lord will not leave us.
Evening. The Lord has not yet sent us what is needed for tomorrow, but He has given us fresh proof that He is mindful of us. This afternoon nine plum cakes were sent by a sister as a treat for the orphans. These cakes were an encouragement to me to continue to look out for further supplies. The little donations that came in today are precious, but they are not enough to meet the need of tomorrow. Before nine o'clock tomorrow morning we need more money to be able to buy milk. Truly, we are poorer than ever. Through grace my eyes do not look at the meager supplies and the empty purse, but to the riches of the Lord only.
February 9. I went to the Orphan Houses to see whether the Lord had sent in anything. When I arrived, I found that He had Just sent help two or three minutes earlier. A brother was on his way to work this morning when the Lord put the orphans on his heart. The brother said to himself, "I cannot go there now. I will take something to them this evening." Nevertheless, he could not go on any further, but felt constrained to return and bring three sovereigns to the Orphan House. The Lord in His faithfulness helped us. Help was never more truly needed, nor did the help of the Lord ever come more obviously from Himself-His timing could not have been better.
Praise the Lord for His goodness! Praise Him that He helped us trust in Him in this trying hour.
February 12. Saturday. Today we were only able to supply the absolute necessities. When the mealtimes came, the Lord provided the food. Considering the great financial distress in our country, our dear orphans are very well provided for.
Of all the weeks during the last three years and seven months, this has been one of the most trying. Thanks to the Lord who has helped us this day also! Thanks to Him for enabling us to praise Him for the deliverance this morning. We were sure He would provide, and He did not disappoint us.
February 16. We had enough for breakfast, but nothing more came in during the morning. In the afternoon I again asked the Lord to send us help. I then sat down to meditate over the Word. I did not know whether there was a morsel of bread for tea in any of the houses, but I felt assured that the Lord would provide.
Through grace, my mind is fully assured of the faithfulness of the Lord. In the midst of the greatest need, I am enabled to go about my other work in peace. Indeed, if the Lord did not give me this trust in Him, I would scarcely be able to work at all.
Soon after I sat down to meditate, a note was sent to me from the master of the orphan boys. He wrote, "When I visited the sisters in the Infant and Girls' Orphan Houses, I found them in the greatest need. There was no bread in one of the houses for tea this evening, and the six shillings sixpence was scarcely enough to supply what was needed for the dinner. I opened the offering box in the Boys' Orphan House and unexpectedly found one pound. Thus, through the kindness of the Lord, we were again abundantly supplied."
In the evening the Lord, in His love and faithfulness, blessed us again. I had preached at the meeting from the gospel of John. The last words on which I spoke were, "Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). When the meeting was over, as a fresh proof of the truth of this Word, a note was given to me with five pounds for the orphans.
February 19. Saturday. Our money was again completely spent. Our provision stores were even more exhausted than on any previous Saturday. Not the least human likelihood remained for obtaining sufficient provisions for this one day, much less for two days.
When I went to the Orphan Houses before breakfast, I found a letter from Nottingham containing one shilling. This was not only a sweet proof that our Father remembered our need, but a promise that He would supply us with all we required this day. In the morning money came in, and we were provided with those things which were absolutely needed for this day.
February 25. This week was full of trials of faith, but also full of deliverances. Our need has never been greater than now. Most of the laborers felt considerably tried today, but the Lord has not allowed us to be discouraged. Through a remarkable circumstance, one of the laborers obtained some money this morning so that all the need of today could be amply met.
March 17. This morning our poverty, which now has lasted for several months, became exceedingly great. I left my house a few minutes after seven to go to the Orphan Houses to see whether there was enough money to buy milk. I prayed that the Lord would have mercy on us, even as a father has mercy on his children. I reminded Him of the consequences that would result, both in the lives of believers and unbelievers, if we had to give up the work because of lack of money, and that He therefore would not permit It to fail.
While I was walking and praying, I met a brother who was on his way to work. I greeted him and walked on, but he ran after me and gave me one pound for the orphans. Thus the Lord speedily answered my prayer.
Truly, it is worth being poor and greatly tried in faith for the sake of having such precious, daily proof of the loving interest which our kind Father takes in everything that concerns us. How could our Father do otherwise? He gave us the greatest possible proof of His love when He gave us His own Son. Surely He will also freely give us all things. (See Rom. 8:32.)
If the hearts of the children of God are comforted and their faith strengthened, it is worth being poor and greatly tried in faith. Those who do not know God may read or hear of His dealings with us and see that faith in God is more than a mere notion. There is indeed reality in Christianity.
April 12. We were never in greater need than today, when I received one hundred pounds from the East Indies. It is impossible to describe the joy in God it gave me. My prayer this morning had been that our Father would now at last send larger sums of money. I was not in the least surprised or excited when this donation came, for I took it as the answer to prayer we had been expecting.
May 10. Our trials of faith during these seventeen months lasted longer and were sharper than during any previous period. Yet, the orphans had everything they needed in the way of nourishing food and clothing. We look back at the trials of our faith with perfect joy and peace, knowing that our God did not fail us even once. In our dependence on Him for every need, we have come to know in a fuller way that we are truly partners with Him in this work. "And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).
The words fellowship, communion, and partnership mean the same. The believer in the Lord Jesus does not only obtain forgiveness of all his sins through the shed blood of Jesus, by faith in His name; he does not only become righteous before God, through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus; he is not only born of God, a partaker of the divine nature, and therefore a child of God and an heir of God; but he is also in fellowship or partnership with God. Just as God's love to His children is unalterably the same, so it is also with our fellowship or partnership with Him-it remains unalterably the same so far as God is concerned.
All that we possess in God as His partners may be brought down into our daily life and be enjoyed, experienced, and used. We may make unlimited use of our partnership with the Father and with the Son and draw out, by prayer and faith, the inexhaustible fullness in God.
If I were a businessman and found myself daily making the wrong decisions, what could I do? In myself there is no solution to the problem. I can expect nothing but further mistakes. And yet, I. need not despair because the living God is my partner. I do not have sufficient wisdom to meet these difficulties, but He is able to direct me. I can pour out my heart to God and ask Him to guide and direct me and to supply me with wisdom. Then I have to believe that He will do so. I can go with good courage to my business and expect help from Him in the next difficulty that may come before me. As I do, I find that I am truly in partnership with the Father and with the Son.
If I desire more power over temptations, more wisdom, grace, or anything else that I may need in my service for God, what else should I do but make use of my fellowship with the Father and with the Son? By prayer and faith we may obtain all necessary temporal and spiritual help and blessings. In all simplicity, we can pour out our heart before God. Then we have to believe that He will give to us according to our need.
Do not let the consciousness of your unworthiness keep you from believing what God has said concerning you. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, then this precious privilege of being in partnership with the Father and the Son is yours.