Hope For Those Who Hurt, by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson

Chapter 29 -

Following Howie's fifth brain surgery in April, '99, we knew we had to make some difficult decisions. Howie had been working full-time, but was not able to continue. He was weaker on his left side following surgery and had to have several months of physical therapy. He also faced at least six months of chemotherapy, which would weaken him further. It was now time for him to consider going out on permanent disability.

I felt anxious about this financial reversal in our lives. Up to this point, Howie had been earning a decent income working for the Long Island Railroad. Now all of a sudden, we were living off his sick pay and my two part-time jobs, which was a significant reduction in income. I chose not to work full-time, so I could be there for Howie and take him to all his appointments. We applied for disability and were told the waiting period was six months. With our combined income now being less than our living expenses, which included medical bills, we were facing a desperate situation.

Howie and I were fascinated with the story of George Muller, the man of God who taught the Word of God and established several orphanages in England in the mid-1800's. He was known as a man of tremendous faith. He didn't have a salary and never asked for money for his ministries, but always prayed and trusted the Lord to provide. In all his years of serving the Lord, Mr. Muller never lacked the funds he needed. I bought The Autobiography of George Muller shortly after Howie's fifth brain surgery and read through it, receiving a tremendous blessing. Following is an excerpt from the Introduction:

"After a few years, God called him to establish a house for the care and education of orphans. He was drawn to this work, not only from motives of benevolence, but from a desire to convince men that God does answer prayer.

"Mr .Muller began this work in such a manner that aid could not be expected from anyone but God. He did not, of course, expect God to create gold and silver and put them into his hands. He knew that God could incline the hearts of men to aid him, and he believed that if the work was of him, He would meet every need. Thus, in childlike simplicity, he looked to God, and all that he needed was furnished as punctually as if he were a millionaire drawing regularly on his bank account...

"It was George Muller's greatest hope that his record of God's faithfulness to him would encourage believers to develop faith like his own--the faith without which it is impossible to please God; the faith that works by love and purifies the heart; the faith that removes mountains of obstacles out of our path; the faith that takes hold of God's strength and is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."

Following George Muller's example, Howie and I decided to pray about all our financial needs and not ask anyone, including our parents, to help us out. We didn't know how we were going to meet our expenses, but we trusted the Lord to provide. Little did we know what an exciting adventure was ahead for us:

We decided to offer free copies of Hope For Those Who Hurt to people going through hard times, especially to families dealing with brain tumors. Through financial gifts from others who had read the book, we received the funds to print and ship out copies to several hundred people in the United States and some foreign countries.

We are so thankful to the Lord and family and friends for helping us survive this lean time in our lives. In November, '99, Howie's first disability payment was deposited and our financial situation improved. But even during the previous months, we never went through a time where we weren't able to pay our bills and buy necessities. We learned a valuable lesson in trusting the Lord that year, a lesson we'll never forget.

FOR THOSE WHO HURT: If you're a true believer in Jesus Christ, God has promised to supply your needs according to His riches in glory. "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). When finances are low, step out on faith, call out to God, and trust Him to put it on the hearts of others to help. "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). And never forget to say "Thank you, Lord!"

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