Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 34, 1907

Olsen, Sister [O. A.]

St. Helena, California

February 6, 1907

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 45. +Note

Dear Sister Olsen:

I am writing a few lines to you in this mail, in the hope that you may receive the comfort and encouragement in your sickness that the Lord desires you to have. It will bring no brightness into your life to look continually to yourself. Look to your precious Saviour, who gave His life for you. Christ is not dead. He is not in Joseph’s tomb. He lives to make intercession for you. Look unto Him who is the author and finisher of your faith. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 1

While your husband is faithfully seeking to act his part in the work, you may do your part by making the best of your condition of health. It would please the Lord if you would make an effort to forget yourself. Begin to thank the Lord for your home and your pleasant surroundings and the many temporal blessings He gives you. By returning thanks to the Lord for His goodness, you can do something for the One who has done everything for you. Contemplate the depths of the compassion that the Saviour felt for you. For you He gave His life, suffering the cruel death of the cross. Can you not praise the Lord for this? If you will hide your life in Christ, He will receive you. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 2

If you will show that you have a working faith, by trying every day to exercise your will power, your faculties will gain strength. I know this by experience. I remember in my own case how my faculties recovered their pliability as I tried to exercise them. Will you try to move about and be cheerful in spirit. Put your trust in Jesus. Have faith in Him, and be pliant in His hands. You will receive great blessing by making a change in your habits. You need to act, to employ your mind, your hands, your feet, even if the effort costs you some pain. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 3

I have had to do this; had I not I should have remained in a crippled condition. For eleven months after going to Australia, I suffered from inflammatory rheumatism. I was unable to lift my feet from the floor, without suffering great pain. My right arm, from the elbow down, was the only part of my body that was free from pain. When I attended meeting, I was borne in an armchair by two men, up the long flight of stairs that led to the meeting room, and was then lifted on to the platform. None of those who heard me speak knew how much the effort cost me, and I did not wish them to know. Now and then a spasm of pain would pass through my limbs, and I would have to repress a cry of suffering. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 4

Some of the meetings that I attended at this time were from four to twelve miles from my home. On some of these occasions I was able to speak for an hour at a time. The fact that I could speak in public, in spite of my crippled condition, was an encouragement to my brethren and sisters. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 5

Physicians said that I would never be able to walk again, and I had fears that my life was to be a perpetual conflict with suffering. But I would not give up; and the constant effort that I made, because of my faith that I could still be the Lord’s messenger to the people, accomplished a great change in my health. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 6

This was not the only experience of suffering that I have had. Once, years before, one bone of my leg was split from the ankle to the knee. For a long time I could not use that limb at all, but went on crutches. Later, my foot was caught under the runner of a heavy lumber sleigh. I was to speak on New Year’s Day in Battle Creek, and at the appointed time the church was crowded with city people. I would not disappoint them. My husband brought a chair. On this I knelt and spoke for one hour. Then, I lost my senses with pain and was carried to the sofa. My suffering was intense. As gently as possible I was lifted into a sleigh and rode several miles to the house in which we were living, which was on the road to Goguac Lake. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 7

I thought that I could attend to my ankle myself, but after I had suffered intensely for three days, Dr. Kellogg was called in. He said that I would never again use that foot in walking. But I was carefully tended at the sanitarium, and my foot was saved. I am so thankful that I am not a cripple. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 8

During those eleven months of suffering in Australia, I would not give up. My right arm, from the elbow down, was whole, so that I could use the pen, and I wrote twenty-five hundred pages of letter paper for publication. During this period, I had the most terrible suffering of my life. My hips and my spine were in constant pain. I could not lie on my cot for more than two hours at a time, though I had rubber cushions under me. I would drag myself to a similar bed to change my position. Thus the nights passed. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 9

But to all this there is a cheerful side. My Saviour seemed to be close beside me. I felt His sacred presence in my heart, and I was so thankful. These months of suffering were the happiest months of my life, because of the companionship of my Saviour. He was my hope and crown of rejoicing. I am so thankful that I had this experience, because I became better acquainted with my precious Lord and Saviour. His love filled my heart. All through my sickness, His love, His tender compassion, was my comfort. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 10

Now, my sister, I have given you this rambling sketch of my sickness in order that you may be comforted in the Lord, and not cherish a spirit of repining and discouragement. Your husband is engaged in a good work. He is needed in the Australian field. He can be a blessing to many. My dear sister, if you will look away from yourself to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith and mine, you will be a happy woman. “Look unto Me,” says the Saviour. [Isaiah 45:22.] “Trust in Me; believe in Me; and do not weaken your physical and moral powers by looking at your own weakness.” Look unto Jesus, your pitying, loving Saviour. If you cast your helpless soul on Christ, He will bring joy and peace to your soul. He will be your crown of rejoicing, your exceeding great reward. Listen to the words I speak. Exercise yourself in every possible way. This is what I have had to do. Be cheerful and praise the Lord. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 11

In love. 22LtMs, Lt 34, 1907, par. 12