August Herman Francke
Stories of Answered Prayer
Only Eight Groschen in Hand
"Once I had no more than eight groschen in hand, when according to God's wise dispensation, some people arrived from Leipzig, who were recommended to me. The family consisted of a husband and wife with five children, and they expected either that I should provide for them, or that they would elsewhere be received through my recommendation. I spoke encouragingly to them, and because I was unwilling to send them away comfortless, since I was really unable to assist them as they wished, I unfolded my circumstances freely to them, and told them, that two hundred people dined with me, but that though I had only eight groschen at that moment, I did not suffer any care to enter my heart, but relied upon him, who has said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;' and that if they would turn unto him with all their hearts, and trust in him, he would not forsake them. Whilst consoling and admonishing them in language of this nature, it occurred to me, that just such a man as he, was required by some one; I therefore told them to come again at a certain hour, when they might speak with the individual who wanted some one. On their return to me, and whilst seeking to cheer them in a similar manner, after the person had said to them what was requisite, I accompanied them to the house door, and on returning into the house, I found a student there, who informed me of a certain person, whom however he was not permitted to name, who would send a contribution for the orphan-house for which only a sealed receipt was requested. The money consisted of forty currency dollars and five ducats. With this our wants were again supplied.”
No Funds for the Manager
"Another time I was again very low in money, and had received little during the week, so that on the Friday, when the manager came as usual to demand money, I could not give him more than a single dollar, and I said the same evening, in simplicity, to the master-builder, that he must bring me something the following day, since I had nothing left. The next morning the manager came and again wanted money; I told him I had given out the last dollar yesterday and had nothing more. He asked what he was to do? ‘The wood-cutters, and the women who washed the children, who were poor people, must necessarily have something given them, were it only a dollar.' I answered, that at present I had not so much; but that ‘God knew there was an orphan house, and that we had nothing for it.' ‘That is true,' said he, and went away a little comforted. On returning to the orphan-house, he found a whole cart load of corn, which a kind benefactor, who knew nothing of our destitute circumstances, had sent us; he struck his hands together with astonishment, and marveled at the wonderful providence of God.”
He has Always Supplied Shoes
"Once, when one of my assistants, who acted as paymaster, said to me one evening, 'Our money is all gone;' I answered, 'I am glad of it; for it is a sign that God will send us something again; he has always given me, from my childhood up, a new pair of shoes when the old ones were worn out.' Early the following day, a person was announced, who mentioned that he wished to see me, and delivered me two hundred dollars, which were entrusted to his care for the benefit of the orphan-house.
Trusting God as the Lilies
"Another time, when we were in want, and I bore it in mind whilst perambulating a walk in the garden, on both sides of which lilies were planted, which just then began to expand their flowers, the words of the Saviour occurred to me, which he had spoken against anxious care: 'Behold the lilies how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin, &c.' I immediately took advantage of these words of our Lord, for further meditation; so that I said in my heart, 'Yea, Lord, I will gladly give thee the glory, and lay aside care, according to thy word; but thou must not leave me in straits, but likewise fulfill thy word and promise; for thou hast said, 'All these things shall be added unto you.' For it easy to say, Behold the lilies! but thy divine power and truth must be honoured in it, that he who obeys thy word, and filially depends upon this thy promise, may also experience its fulfillment.' As I returned from the garden into the house, I found that something had arrived in the interval; and an hour afterwards something additional was sent, by which our present wants were supplied. I was greatly strengthened by this, in believing that the Lord would always keep his promise, as well as incited to trust him more and more, and to cast all care upon him.
Comforted by Psalm 102:17 and God's Care for the Destitute
"At another time, when we were pressed to pay a certain debt, and we knew not where to procure any thing, I was much comforted by Psalm 102:17, 'He (the Lord) will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer;' and prayed unto the Lord with a firm reliance upon his mercy and faithfulness. The next evening, just as my assistants were together with me, I received a letter from a pious merchant and frequent benefactor of the orphan-house, who lived almost a hundred German miles distant, inclosing a bill for seventy dollars, which enabled me fully to liquidate the debt, and even left something over, by which we were all of us rejoiced, and strengthened in our faith.
Two Dollars for Traveling Expenses
"Once, when a boy, who had been, up to that period, brought up in the orphan-house, and who, for certain reasons, was about to return to his own province by a convenient opportunity, urged me, on his departure, to give him two dollars for travelling expenses; I would gladly have done so, but had not so much money in hand; there being little more than half-a-dollar. I therefore told the boy, 'that I would gladly do so, but had not so much.' The boy would scarcely believe this, seeing that all the time he had been there, he had perceived no want of anything. On this I again assured him, that I would willingly give him the money, if I only had it, and told him to go to a good friend of mine, of whom he had also to take leave, and wait there a little; perhaps something might be found for him in the interim. When he was gone, it indeed occurred to me to borrow a couple of dollars from some one; but I was just then employed in something which did not admit of delay; and therefore thought within myself, 'God can easily send me the sum required, if it be his will;' on which I continued at my occupation. Scarcely had a quarter of an-hour elapsed, when a friend, with whom I was well acquainted, came to me, and brought twenty dollars for the poor orphans, stating that the twenty dollars had been added to his pension, and he had laid them aside for some time, having no use for them, since his pension was sufficient without them; he had, therefore, resolved to present them to the orphan children, who would have use enough for them.' The boy consequently received the two dollars, and the residue was a very opportune supply for other necessities.
Even 5,000 Dollars Paid
"In this manner has our faithful God continually put it into the hearts of the well-disposed to send their contributions for the promotion of the work; of which there were many more instances, than what are here related. But even as on the outset, and especially when very large sums were required for the building, and when corn was at the same time very dear, we were frequently brought to extremities, and the Lord then caused us the more joy by his aid —so the same wise and wonderful God, in subsequent times, when still greater sums were required for the extension of the work than before, has sometimes restrained his aid in such a manner, as to make it appear as if he would no longer give his blessing to the work. On one occasion, especially, this trial of faith was so painful, that I had reason to praise God, for preserving my assistants in patience to bear, with me, the long continuance of our necessities, and the innumerable difficulties arising out of them. But when our distress had reached its highest pitch, and some of my assistants began to say to each other, that the blessing formerly enjoyed was no longer continued to us—the Lord broke in with his gracious aid, and refreshed us, like a heavy shower refreshes the parched ground, after a long period of drought. For the very same hour in which, unknown to me, they had thus conversed together, and one and another of them came to me, immediately afterwards, informing me of it, although their own faith remained steadfast and unshaken, I showed them the bills of exchange, which I had meanwhile received for the orphan-house. They amounted to five thousand dollars, the largest sum I had ever received for the work; and these five thousand dollars were paid me at once, on producing the drafts. No desire of fame, or any other worldly motive, had induced the donor to this remarkable act of liberality, as the circumstances which preceded it clearly prove. Nor did he even wish his name to be known; nor had he been solicited for this aid, either by myself or any one else; in fact he has never been personally seen by me. In short, I cannot ascribe this remarkable aid to any one else, than the living and gracious God in heaven, who incited the heart of this benefactor to the generous deed, since he did not know the smallest thing respecting my distress at that period. I therefore reasonably say, on such a remarkable manifestation of the hand of God, 'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits!' 'Bless the Lord, O my soul! and forget not the mercy he has shewn thee.' 'The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad ;' and they that read this in the fear of God, may also say, 'the Lord hath done great things for them.'"— Ernest Guericke, The life of Augustus Herman Franké, pp. 166-171