Letters to Young Lovers
Section 4—Looking for Help?
Have I Made The Right Choice?
We are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others, and wait for them to tell us what to do. We cannot depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as He will teach somebody else. If we come to him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them as Christ has promised. LYL 39.1
Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. We are not to please ourselves, for Christ pleased not himself. I would not be understood to mean that anyone is to marry one whom he does not love. This would be sin. But fancy and the emotional nature must not be allowed to lead on to ruin. God requires the whole heart, the supreme affections. LYL 39.2
If men and women are in the habit of praying twice a day before they contemplate marriage, they should pray four times a day when such a step is anticipated. Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life, both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. LYL 39.3
If there is any subject that should be considered with calm reason and unimpassioned judgment, it is the subject of marriage. If ever the Bible is needed as a counselor, it is before taking a step that binds persons together for life. LYL 40.1
Instituted by God, marriage is a sacred ordinance and should never be entered upon in a spirit of selfishness. Those who contemplate this step should solemnly and prayerfully consider its importance and seek divine counsel that they may know whether they are pursuing a course in harmony with the will of God. The instruction given in God's word on this point should be carefully considered. Heaven looks with pleasure upon a marriage formed with an earnest desire to conform to the directions given in the Scripture. LYL 40.2
Belle does not seem to want counsel from any source—even from those closest to her, and most interested in her happiness. Ellen White suggests that she ought to listen to her parents, and in turn is disappointed that her own counsel has been ignored. She pleads that if Belle is unwilling to go to human help, she should certainly turn to God. Here are two letters Mrs. White wrote to her. LYL 40.3
Battle Creek, Mich.,
March 1, 1889.
I hoped to meet you and talk with you. I greatly fear that you disregard the light which the Lord has been pleased to give you through me. I know that the Lord has tender, pitying love toward you, and I hope you will not under temptation be led to pursue a course to separate your soul from God. There are many who are ready to give advice and confuse the mind with counsel, who have not God for their counselor, therefore all they may say will only make a mixed case of one that is already very trying. LYL 41.1
Belle, your disposition and temperament is such that I greatly fear for your soul. I fear that you will not choose for your companions those who are discreet and wise and humble in heart, who love God and who keep His commandments. LYL 41.2
Abstain from even the appearance of evil, is the exhortation of the inspired apostle. Have you done this? The sensational and emotional is more fully developed than the intellectual . Everything, Belle, should be avoided that would exaggerate this tendency into a predominating power. You have motive power; let it be uncorrupted and wholly devoted to God. God has bestowed upon you capabilities and powers to be sanctified and exercised to His glory. LYL 41.3
You have a history and you are making history. The mind may in this crisis of your life take a turn, a bias of grossness rather than of refinement. The contaminating influences of the world may mold your habits, your taste, your conversation, your deportment. You are on the losing side. The precious moments, so solemn, fraught with eternal results, may be wholly on Satan's side of the question and may prove your ruin. I do not want it thus. I want you should be a Christian, a child of God, an heir of heaven. LYL 41.4
You are in danger of giving up Christ, of becoming reckless and unwilling to listen to wise counsel. The counsel of parental affection is lost upon deaf ears. Will you, Belle, think seriously whether you will receive advice from the experienced? Will you be guided by your friends? Will the parental counsel be unheeded? Will you take your case in your own hands? LYL 41.5
I hope you will change your course of action, for if the Lord has ever spoken by me, He now speaks to you to retrace your steps. Your passions are strong, your principles are endangered, and you will not consider and will not follow advice which you know to be good and the only clear, safe, consistent thing for you to do. Will you resolve to do right, to be right, to heed the counsel I have given you in the name of the Lord? God has given you capabilities. Shall they be wasted at random? Unguided efforts will go more often in the wrong direction than the right. Will you let years of waywardness, disappointment, and shame pass and you make so many wrong impressions on minds by your course of action that you can never have that influence which you might have had? LYL 42.1
In order to gain that which you think is liberty you pursue a course which, if followed, will hold you in a bondage worse than slavery. You must change your course of conduct and be guided by the counsel of experience and through the wisdom of those whom the Lord teaches, place your will on the side of the will of God. LYL 42.2
But if you are determined to listen to no counsels, but your own and you will work out every problem for yourself, then be sure you will reap that which you have sown. You will miss the right way altogether, or else, wounded, bruised, and dwarfed in religious character, you will turn to the Lord, humbled, penitent, and confessing your errors. You will become tired of beating the air. LYL 42.3
Remember every action and every course of action has a two-fold character, be it virtuous or demoralizing. God is displeased with you. Can you afford to pursue the course you are pursuing? LYL 42.4
Ellen G. White.
Again my heart goes out to you. How is it with your soul? Have you a conscience void of offense toward God and man? Your associations, are they of that character to draw your mind to God and to heavenly things, to increase in you reverence for your parents, pure and holy aspirations? Do you love the truth and the right? Or are you indulging in a creative imagination that has no healthful influence upon the soul? Can you look back upon the last year of your life with satisfaction? Can you see a growth in spiritual power? Any low gratification, any self-indulgence, is a scar left upon the soul, and the noble powers of mind are corrupted. There may be repentance, but the soul is crippled, and will wear its scars through all time. Jesus can wash away the sin but the soul has sustained a loss. LYL 43.1
I beg of you, Belle, to go to God for wisdom. The most difficult thing you will have to manage is your own self. Your own daily trials, your emotions, and your peculiar temperament, your inward promptings,—these are difficult matters for you to control, and these wayward inclinations bring you often into bondage and darkness. LYL 43.2
Your only course is to give yourself unreservedly into the hands of Jesus—all your experiences, all your temptations, all your trials, all your impulses—and let the Lord mold you as clay is molded in the hands of the potter. You are not your own and therefore there is the necessity of giving your unmanageable self into the hands of One who is able to manage you. Then rest, precious rest and peace will come to your soul. LYL 43.3
Belle, it is not now too late for wrongs to be righted. It is not now too late to make your calling and your election sure. You may now begin to work upon the plan of addition. Add to your faith virtue, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and every Christian grace. Everything else will perish in the great day of conflagration, but the gold of holy character is enduring. It knows no decay. It will stand the test of the fires of the last day. My dear child, I wish you to remember that “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14. LYL 43.4
What are you doing, Belle? Have you, since you decided to discard counsel, to refuse advice, been growing into a firm, well developed Christian? Or have you, in choosing your own way, found it brings unrest, cares, and worries? LYL 44.1
Why not listen to the advice of your parents? Before you is the path that leads to certain ruin. Will you turn while you can? Will you seek the Lord while Mercy's sweet voice is appealing to you, or will you still have your own way? The Lord pities you. The Lord invites you. Will you come? LYL 44.2
May the Lord help you to choose to be wholly the Lord's. LYL 44.3
I write because I love your soul. LYL 44.4
Ellen G. White.