Open Your Mouth Wide
Our daughter was soon to be leaving for boarding academy. Like many of my stories this came at a time when again the local economy was in decline. Our sole income was from our cabinet shop, and it struggled to stay alive. It was one of those seasons in life where you look back on and are thankful, it is during these times that your faith really grows. We had not a dime to spare for her tuition but felt God was leading and would provide.
At the time, I was reading the biography of George Muller. A man of faith who, without ever asking for money from anyone except God, cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime. I found his story extra meaningful as my own great grandmother had been one of those orphans. My faith was boosted as I read page after page of how God had miraculously provided. Mr. Muller’s “go-to” promise was Psalm 81:10 “…open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” With the book still in my hands I silently claimed the promise for my own.
Simultaneously to my prayer, my father had been given the responsibility to clean out a property previously owned by an old bachelor friend that had passed away. The man had no children and had willed the estate to his elderly cousin who lived several hundred miles away. The buildings were old cabins that were leaking and some roofs were collapsed. They all needed burning. At the suggestion of my father the heir to the estate donated anything of value for a garage sale to fund our daughter’s tuition.
Donned with gloves and masks my father and I began searching for “treasure” amongst mountains of garbage. Time after time we filled Dad’s truck with old worn out and broken things that reminded him of his childhood. Old mismatched dishes, apple boxes that had been nailed together and used for shelving, old magazines, bottles, and tin cans. I know Dad thought I was crazy. He reasoned if he could remember them–they couldn’t possibly be antique… When I began searching through the trees looking for old rusted galvanized tubs and buckets my Dad thought I had really lost my mind.
The two most valuable items we found were a large stone crock and an old hand crank telephone. I took pictures and shared them on Facebook. Immediately they gained a lot of attention. Within minutes my friends began an impromptu auction. One thing lead to another. An events page on Facebook was started and several other worn out items were posted. Now, not only my friends but the whole community began a bidding frenzy. Since it was a small town everyone knew each other and joined in a friendly competition to outbid the other. In our small northern town yard sales were seldom, when one was advertised it would fast become a community event!
Finally the day of the sale arrived. All the items that were being auctioned were set out with bid sheets. Those who weren’t on social media still had an opportunity to bid until the end of the day. As for the old galvanized tubs and buckets, I printed pictures of decorating suggestions I had found on Pinterest and set them out as part of my display along with smaller buckets I had filled with fresh cut lilacs. I priced them at $10 a piece. My Dad was stunned! Within a couple hours they were all sold! The ones that were rusted through were the first to go as it made good drainage for planters.
When all was said and done the garage sale brought in over $7000, nearly HALF of the needed tuition. I am here to tell you that God heard my silent prayer claiming the promise that if I “opened my mouth wide He would fill it!” Not only did He— like the loaves and fishes–multiply the small humble items that were offered for His service, He continued to provided month after month right until the close of the school year. Yes, a total of $14,615 came in, leaving an extra $50 that went towards the next years tuition!
Mr. Muller’s story has left a huge impact on my life, not only had he given my Great Grandmother a home but his stories of prayer, faith and action had strengthened my own faith. He left another example that may be of an even greater impact. He was a preacher and author loudly proclaiming that God can be trusted!
“…open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10