Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


The Fourth of July Picnic

On Monday, July 3, Ellen White broke away from Oakland to make a quick trip to Healdsburg to gather up some of her writings needed in connection with what she was preparing for publication. Just before noon on Tuesday, the fourth of July, a man with a carriage came to the home and urged her to accompany him to the grove in the redwoods about six miles away where about fifty of the Healdsburg believers and some church officers and members of the school board had assembled for a picnic. She had already turned down an invitation, explaining that she was too pressed with work to attend. Now the word was that she would not be excused, but must come. “So, as usual,” she explained in a letter, “I had no heart to say No, and I went.”—Letter 30, 1882. 3BIO 201.2

Refreshments were placed upon the table linen which was spread upon the grass. Thanksgiving was offered to the gracious Giver of all our mercies, and then the hungry company ate with relish the good food abundantly prepared to supply a much larger number. After this was the exercise of singing, and intercession was made to God for His blessing.—Ibid 3BIO 201.3

Ellen White then described a unique and most encouraging experience, one that must have cheered her heart as she was wrestling with the problems at Battle Creek. 3BIO 202.1

While seated in this beautiful retired park, free from all confusion and bustle, a sweet peace came over my spirits. I seemed to be taken away from myself, and the bright home of the saints was presented vividly before me. In imagination I gathered with the saints around the wide-spreading tree of life. Friends and dear home relatives who had been separated from us by death were gathered there. The redeemed, white-robed multitude, who had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, were there. No flaming guard stood around the tree of life, barring our approach. With happy, joyous songs of praise, the voices were blended in perfect harmony as we plucked of the fruit from the tree of life. 3BIO 202.2

For a time I lost all thought of time, of place, of occasion—of everything earthly. Heaven was the subject of my contemplation—heaven, the much-longed-for heaven. I seemed to be there, where all was peace, where no stormy conflicts of earth could ever come.—Ibid. 3BIO 202.3

“No gloom of doubt casts its baleful shadow upon its happy inhabitants,” she noted as she continued the description. “No voices of contention mar the sweet and perfect peace of heaven.... All is in perfect harmony, in perfect order and perfect bliss.... Love reigns there. There are no jarring elements, no discord or contentions or war of words.”—Ibid. 3BIO 202.4

A day or two after the picnic she returned to Oakland to continue in getting the messages from the God of heaven before the church, and particularly the church in trouble in Battle Creek. During July she wrote five hundred pages of manuscript, traveled considerably, and preached ten times in nearby churches. It was a heavy strain, but she was pressing to get out Testimony No. 31. 3BIO 202.5