Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4


Effects of Overwork

My husband labored incessantly to advance the interests of the cause of God in the various departments of the work centering in Battle Creek. His friends were astonished at the amount of labor he accomplished. Sabbath morning, August 18, he spoke in our house of worship. In the afternoon his mind was closely and critically exercised for four consecutive hours, while he listened to the reading of manuscript for Spirit of Prophecy, volume 3. The matter was intensely interesting and calculated to stir the soul to its very depths, being a relation of the trial, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Before we were aware of it, he was very weary. He commenced labor on Sunday at five o'clock in the morning and continued working until twelve at night. 4T 276.4

The next morning, at about half past six, he was attacked with giddiness and was threatened with paralysis. We greatly feared this dreadful disease, but the Lord was merciful and spared us the affliction. However, his attack was followed by great physical and mental prostration; and now, indeed, it seemed impossible for us to attend the Eastern camp meetings, or for me to attend them and leave my husband, depressed in spirits and in feeble health. 4T 277.1

When my husband was thus prostrated, I said: “This is the work of the enemy. We must not submit to his power. God will work in our behalf.” On Wednesday we had a special season of prayer that the blessing of God might rest upon him and restore him to health. We also asked for wisdom that we might know our duty in regard to attending the camp meetings. The Lord had many times strengthened our faith to go forth and work for Him under discouragements and infirmities; and at such times He had wonderfully preserved and upheld us. But our friends pleaded that we ought to rest and that it appeared inconsistent and unreasonable for us to attempt such a journey and incur the fatigue and exposure of camp life. We ourselves tried to think that the cause of God would go forward the same if we were set aside and had no part to act in it. God would raise up others to do His work. 4T 277.2

I could not, however, find rest and freedom in the thought of remaining away from the field of labor. It seemed to me that Satan was striving to hedge up my way to prevent me from bearing my testimony and from doing the work that God had given me to do. I had about decided to go alone and do my part, trusting in God to give me the needful strength, when we received a letter from Brother Haskell, in which he expressed gratitude to God that Brother and Sister White would attend the New England camp meeting. Elder Canright had written that he could not be present, as he would be unable to leave the interest in Danvers, and also that none of the company could be spared from the tent. Elder Haskell stated in his letter that all preparations had been made for a large meeting at Groveland; and he had decided to hold the meeting, with the help of God, even if he had to carry it through alone. 4T 277.3

We again took the matter to the Lord in prayer. We knew that the mighty Healer could restore both my husband and me to health, if it was for His glory so to do. It seemed hard to move out, weary, sick, and discouraged; but at times I felt that God would make the journey a blessing to us both if we went trusting in Him. The thought would frequently arise in my mind: “Where is your faith? God has promised, ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’” 4T 278.1

I sought to encourage my husband; he thought that if I felt able to undergo the fatigue and labor of camp meeting, it would be best for me to go; but he could not endure the thought of accompanying me in his state of feebleness, unable to labor, his mind clouded with despondency, and himself a subject of pity to his brethren. He had been able to sit up but little since his sudden attack and seemed to grow no stronger. We sought the Lord again and again, hoping that there would be a rift in the cloud, but no special light came. While the carriage was waiting to take us to the depot, we again went before the Lord in prayer and pleaded with Him to sustain us on our journey. We both decided to walk out by faith and to venture all on the promises of God. This movement upon our part required considerable faith; but upon taking our seats in the cars, we felt that we were in the path of duty. We rested in traveling and slept well at night. 4T 278.2