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


Stricken! “What Shall I Do?”

At first, while in the uncertainty as to her future, she had some decisions to make. She had come to Australia as the Lord's messenger to minister to the people. To what extent could she do this while her activities were curtailed by physical suffering? She could not travel, and her oral ministry must be within easy driving distance. She could write, for miraculously her right hand was free from pain, but this writing had to be done under certain conditions. 4BIO 33.5

It was mid-February, 1892—late summer in the Southern Hemisphere. After being confined to her home in Preston for a full month and experiencing no improvement in health, she determined to speak to the congregation in Melbourne. Sabbath morning, February 13, she was taken in her carriage to Federal Hall at the publishing house. Her son Willie and J. H. Stockton carried her up the long flight of stone steps to the chapel. There she stood and spoke for nearly an hour. Of the experience she wrote: “The Lord refreshed me while speaking to our people, and I received no harm.”—Manuscript 40, 1892. 4BIO 33.6

As her physical condition worsened she could not stand to speak, but she would not give up; she spoke while sitting in a chair on the platform. By this time, work was begun in remodeling the physical plant of the Echo Publishing House, in the process of which the meeting room became a part of the factory. Nearby Albert Hall was rented for Sabbath meetings. 4BIO 34.1

Of her experience she wrote on Sunday, March 27, to her son Willie, who was in New Zealand attending the meetings she had expected to attend: 4BIO 34.2

Last night I slept little. I had one hour's nap in the first trial after going to bed, then slept no more until midnight, then one hour's sleep, then two hours’ wakefulness. I cannot handle myself any better than I have done for weeks. 4BIO 34.3

Sabbath it rained some—was very cloudy. I had told them I would speak to them, but I was unusually weak and the weather threatened every moment to be rainy. I finally decided to go and the clouds dispersed. There was a large congregation and they listened with interest. It rained and was cold when we started homeward, Marian, Annie, May, and I. We had meeting in Albert's Hall. I was glad I went; do not think it hurt me.—Letter 64, 1892. 4BIO 34.4

She referred again to the Sabbath meeting: 4BIO 34.5

I am glad I spoke last Sabbath. Sister Daniells said that she was surprised, knowing my feebleness, that I spoke with such clearness and power. If the Lord will give me strength to do a little here, I know that little is needed. I will not give up my courage. I will hope in God, although I cannot rise up or sit down or move without pain....

The Lord has ... care for me. He will not leave me to suffering and despair. I shall speak Sabbaths, for the thought I can do that much refreshes me.—Letter 65, 1892. 4BIO 34.6

As she wrote to Elder and Mrs. Haskell a week later, she reported: 4BIO 35.1

I manage to speak Sabbaths. Stephen Belden and Byron or some other brother is at hand when my carriage drives up to the hall, and one on each side helps me to the hall and up the steps onto the platform, to my chair. 4BIO 35.2

I have spoken seven times in this fashion; it is quite a humiliation to me, but the Lord does give me words for the people. I am blessed myself and the congregation is blessed. I spoke last Sunday afternoon to our sisters on dress reform. We had a good attendance and I hope the words spoken will enlighten some befogged minds.—Letter 10, 1892. 4BIO 35.3

Thus she continued for a few more weeks, until her physical condition worsened to the point that she could no longer meet speaking appointments. However, conference and publishing-house officials frequently visited her at her residence for counsel. 4BIO 35.4