I have an amazing wife. She is very honest and gives her whole heart to love God, love me, her husband, and love our children. When she said, “For better or worse, in sickness and health, so long as we both shall live,” she meant it. I mean, she is perfectly imperfect, and I can’t imagine life without her. With that in mind, I come to this tale in our story.
Married these 12 years, it has been our constant practice to hear the Lord speak and then obey. Well, in 2008 we heard very clearly to begin the journey we are presently on, and it has been a bumpy road. Since that isn’t really what this blog is about, I won’t go into details; Maree has done that in many of her blogs. I’ll simply say that as a husband and father, I want to give my wife and children everything: love, a firm faith, good food to eat, a beautiful home, nice car to drive, nice clothes to wear, vacations, extra-curricular activities; you name it, I want to give it to them. Not being able to do that is a very difficult burden to bear, especially when you know in your heart you are following the Lord.
So here’s the story: I was having an especially tough week, carrying the burden of providing basic necessities for the kids and my wife, and being strong and comforting at the same time. I couldn’t afford some of these basic things we needed. (Now I will tell you this: the Lord provided, He always does. It may not be how I have been trained to understand His ways or how I expect, but it comes nevertheless.) I was struggling in my faith, not knowing where my salvation would come from in this instance when a dear friend of mine called and said I reminded him of George Mueller.
Wow, Mueller. He is one of my heroes of the faith. Born in 1805, died 1898. Saved in his 20’s, and Spirit-filled around age 27. From that point on he lived by faith, never directly asking a man for money, but believing God to provide. His life’s story is an amazing testimony to God’s provision. But that’s not why I’m writing either; I just wanted to introduce this man to you.
When Mueller was 90 years old he preached his second wife’s funeral, after they had been married 23 years. He preached his first wife’s funeral after they had been married 39 years. I wondered what the secret to the length of his marriages was, and these are the notes from his first wife, Mary’s, funeral, and this is why I’m writing.
Were we happy? Verily we were. With every year our happiness increased more and more. I never saw my beloved wife at any time, when I met her unexpectedly anywhere in Bristol, without being delighted so to do. I never met her even in the Orphan Houses, without my heart being delighted so to do. Day by day, as we met in our dressing room, at the Orphan Houses, to wash our hands before dinner and tea, I was delighted to meet her, and she was equally pleased to see me. Thousands of times I told her—“My darling, I never saw you at any time, since you became my wife, without my being delighted to see you.”32
Then came the diagnosis: “When I heard what Mr. Pritchard’s judgment was, viz., that the malady was rheumatic fever, I naturally expected the worst … My heart was nigh to be broken on account of the depth of my affection.”33
I marveled at the depth of love this man had for his beloved Mary. It became my earnest hope and desire that I would dote on my Maree with that same delight. I could hardly move past that passage. I prayed to God above that it would be my testimony how I loved my darling Maree, where when I would write about her, my love would leap off the page just as it leapt off the page some 120 plus years later in this story. Then I continued and read the following:
Twenty minutes after four, Lord’s Day, February 6, 1870, Mary died. “I fell on my knees and thanked God for her release, and for having taken her to Himself, and asked the Lord to help and support us.”34 The last portion of scripture which I read to my precious wife was this: “The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory, no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Now, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have received grace, we are partakers of grace, and to all such he will give glory also. I said to myself, with regard to the latter part, “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly”—I am in myself a poor worthless sinner, but I have been saved by the blood of Christ; and I do not live in sin, I walk uprightly before God. Therefore, if it is really good for me, my darling wife will be raised up again; sick as she is. God will restore her again. But if she is not restored again, then it would not be a good thing for me. And so my heart was at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have often said before, from taking God at his word, believing what he says.35
I was undone. Read that again; I mean, how is this even possible? Here is a man who so delighted in his wife he could scarce be without her and when she is taken from him, his response is satisfaction with the Creator. There is something so majestic and glorious about believing God at His Word, it is something that will give comfort and help even in the darkest hours and contentment in everything. I meditated on this amazing testimony for a considerable amount of time, wondering if I could ever attain to this satisfaction in God, when I felt the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, “Robert, you walk uprightly before Me because of the Blood.”
Oh, Amazing Love, can it truly be that my position in eternity has nothing to do with how much or how little I’ve dove, how good or bad I’ve been, my position has been established because when I chose to say from my heart, “I believe that Jesus is my Savior,” the blood of Jesus cleansed me from all unrighteousness, and I now stand justified before God; I now walk uprightly.
Now if that’s true, if I walk uprightly before God, then that portion of Scripture Mueller read to his wife must be true for me too. And if God withholds no good thing from me, then what I’m going through must be good for me, and if going through a financial difficulty is good for me, then I can truly say I am satisfied in God.