Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Chapter 3—(1892) Ministry in Great Pain and Suffering

To Ellen White, the illness that began almost as soon as she reached Australia was one of the most mysterious experiences in her life. This is how she herself depicted it: 4BIO 31.1

When the work, newly started in Australia, was in need of help, our brethren in America desired me to visit this field. They urged that as one whom the Lord was especially teaching I could help the work here as others could not. I felt no inclination to go, and had no light that it was my duty. The journey was a dread to me. I desired to remain at home and complete my work on the life of Christ and other writings. 4BIO 31.2

But as the matter was introduced, and the responsible men of the conference expressed their conviction that I in company with others should visit this field, I decided to act in accordance with their light. I feared that my own unwillingness to go was the reason why I had no more evidence on the point. 4BIO 31.3

I made the long journey and attended the conference held in Melbourne. I bore a decided testimony. The Lord gave me tongue and utterance to reprove, to entreat, and to present principles of the greatest importance to the people and to the work. The burden was heavy upon me, and just before the conference closed I was stricken with a severe illness. For eleven months I suffered from malarial fever and inflammatory rheumatism. 4BIO 31.4

During this period I experienced the most terrible suffering of my whole life. 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. 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. 4BIO 31.5

But in all this there was a cheerful side. My Saviour seemed to be close beside me. I felt His sacred presence in my heart, and I was 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 am 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, my continual consolation. 4BIO 32.1

Physicians said 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. Some of the meetings that I attended at this time were from four to twelve miles from home. On some of these occasions I was enabled to speak for a full 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. 4BIO 32.2