History records George Muller as a man who snatched numerous victims from the cruel streets of England, and from the poorhouses he rescued thousands of helpless waifs. For in his lifetime, George Muller’s orphanages gave refuge to thousands of children in England.
As a young man, George met the beautiful Ermegarde at a Bible study. He loved the way her curls danced around her face when she giggled. When George was convinced God was calling him to be a missionary, he shared his dream with Ermegarde—whom he intended to marry.
Ermegarde turned up her nose and said, “‘I could never be a missionary. Missionaries are poor…Be a lawyer, or a doctor, and leave being a missionary for other people who don’t have anything better to do!’ With that she stood up and stomped out of the room.”
After agonizing over this for several weeks, George knew he had to end his relationship with Ermegarde. Only then would he be free to follow the Lord’s leading.
Later, George met Mary Groves, who was not at all like Ermegarde—either in external beauty or inner attitudes. As one biography tells it:
The relationship blossomed, and George found himself in love with Mary. Such a feeling surprised him for more than one reason. First, Mary was eight years older than he was. And second, he had not been looking for or even considering a wife. As far as he was concerned, a wife would slow him down.
What if God called him to go someplace strange or remote? Could he expect a wife to follow him? And would he feel as though marriage made him a prisoner?
Although George may not have expected just any wife to follow him, there was something about Mary.
Soon the two were married. Mary set up housekeeping, and a week later, all her belongings were in George’s tiny home. When George saw Mary’s fancy silver and china, he talked with her and asked her to sell all her treasures for their ministry. Mary responded, “Do what you think is best…and may God help us both.”
A while later, when George and Mary were out walking, George said, Mary, thank you for selling the things. Now there is another matter we need to talk about…It’s the pew rent. I can’t see how we can follow Jesus’ command to treat all men equally if we give rich people the best pews.”
Mary said, “But George, that’s our only income…”
George said, “I know it’s hard, but I think it is the right thing to do.”
Mary said, “Do what you think is best, George. I can trust God, just like you do.”
George stopped and hugged his wife. Tears spilled down his cheeks. Mary had been right—marriage had not become a prison for him. Instead, it had given him a partner in the faith.
Together, George and Mary chose to trust God fully to meet their needs, and to give all else to ministry. It’s reported that over the course of his life, nearly 1.5 million pounds passed through George’s hands to provide food, shelter, and clothing for the multitudes of orphaned children in his care at Bristol. He died with very little money to his name because he gave it all to ministry.
What’s more, George and Mary determined to never ask any person for money to support their orphanages. They simply prayed with faith, and watched God provide for their every need—sometimes at the very last possible moment. It is for this reason that George Muller is considered to be a man of incredible faith.
When Mary Muller died, George preached a short message at her funeral and quoted Psalm 119:68: “Thou art good, and doest good.” The funeral service was one of the largest Bristol had ever seen. Thousands of letters poured in from orphans whom Mary had nurtured as children.
George was comforted by the letters, but he missed Mary greatly. Though she may not have been pretty by the world’s standards, George knew his wife was one of the most beautiful women this world had ever known. In her, he had found a good thing.*
Excerpt: IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY & Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House Publishers 2015)