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


Chapter 7—(1878) The Tide Turns

James White took heed to the counsel given in vision in early April by the “celebrated physician.” He was cheered by the promise “God would have you live.” “You can arise. You can throw off this invalidism,” he had been told (Letter 22, 1878). He set out to do what he could for himself and began to make steady progress toward recovery. As a part of the program he placed himself under the care of Dr. Kellogg at the newly enlarged Battle Creek Sanitarium. The results were very encouraging, and he became involved in the activities in Battle Creek. As president of the General Conference, how could he do otherwise? 3BIO 84.1

Ellen White turned her attention to the Oregon camp meeting to be held at Salem, June 27 to July 2. She would travel there by ship, for California and Oregon were not yet linked by railroads. With others traveling from California to the camp meeting, she boarded the steamer Oregon in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, June 10. She was not at all well, but was optimistic in embarking on the four-day voyage. Her friends thought her presumptuous, but she thought she could rest, and even arranged to do considerable writing while on the voyage. 3BIO 84.2

The Oregon was a good ship, and Captain Conner was attentive of the passengers, but the passage was very rough. 3BIO 84.3

For the first few days after the voyage she rested and wrote some letters to members of the family. To James she confided: 3BIO 84.4

I have felt very lonely since you left, away from husband and children, but when engaged in active labor I shall not feel this so keenly.... I am pleading with God to be qualified to do my work, looking to Him to guide me and not to be turned aside or diverted from it by any circumstances. God will help me.—Letter 31, 1878. 3BIO 84.5

To her close friend Lucinda Hall, in Oakland, she wrote: 3BIO 85.1

I miss James oh, so much. I have feelings of indescribable loneliness, but yet I am among kind friends who do all for me that they can.—Letter 29, 1878.

Before closing her letter, she expressed her great concern: 3BIO 85.2

I feel the deepest interest in the cause and work of God for this time. My yearning heart's cry is for entire conformity to the will of God. I am not content. I must know the length, the breadth, the height and depth of perfect love. I cannot rest unless I know that God is working through me. I must be imbued with His Spirit. I am hungering and thirsting after righteousness.—Ibid.

The letters give a glimpse of the struggle she went through, torn between her understanding of her duty and the ties that bound her close to James. A few days later she wrote to him: 3BIO 85.3

I am feeling more and more deeply that I must accomplish my work. I feel a preciousness, a nearness to God, and although I miss you very, very much, and love you, yet I feel at present I belong to God to wait for and do His will. I tell you freely it is a great sacrifice to my feelings to have you separated from me as you are, and yet it seems to be that it is as God would have it, and I must be reconciled. It has been hard, so hard. I wept and prayed and pondered and wept again, and the steady conviction forces itself upon me that it is right as it is. God's work is great. It demands our first attention. Separated as we are, we shall not be influenced by each other, but we shall look to God separately and do our work in His fear and to His glory.—Letter 32, 1878. 3BIO 85.4