Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Stricken with Severe Illness

But more than other planets was shown to Ellen White in the vision at Topsham. Of this she wrote: 1BIO 115.1

I was shown that I would be much afflicted, and that we would have a trial of our faith on our return to Gorham.—Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1880), 239. 1BIO 115.2

Fulfillment was rapid. Ellen was taken desperately ill. Earnest prayers in her behalf brought no relief. For three weeks James White's bride suffered until in her intense agony she requested that no more prayers be offered in her behalf, for she was convinced that “their prayers were protracting” her life and thus her sufferings. Every breath came with a groan. Otis Nichols, in Massachusetts, sent his son Henry to bring some things for her comfort, and while he was there he joined in the earnest prayers for her recovery. Ellen White tells of what followed: 1BIO 115.3

After others had prayed, Brother Henry commenced praying, and seemed much burdened, and with the power of God resting upon him, rose from his knees, came across the room, and laid his hands upon my head, saying, “Sister Ellen, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole,” and fell back prostrated by the power of God. [On several occasions in the years 1840 to 1851—and even later—there were experiences in which the power of God was manifested in physical prostration. The circumstances, and the high character of the individuals involved, would lead to the conclusion that such experiences were genuine and not the fruit of fanaticism.] I believed the work was of God, and the pain left me. My soul was filled with gratitude and peace.—Ibid., 239, 240. 1BIO 115.4

Ellen was completely restored to normal health and soon with her husband was off by boat to Boston. But this trip was anything but a restful one for the newlyweds, for a storm overtook them. She described the trip: 1BIO 115.5

The boat rolled fearfully, and the waves dashed into the cabin windows. The large chandelier fell to the floor with a crash. The tables were set for breakfast, but the dishes were thrown upon the floor. 1BIO 115.6

There was great fear in the ladies’ cabin. Many were confessing their sins, and crying to God for mercy. Some were calling upon the virgin Mary to keep them, while others were making solemn vows to God that if they reached land they would devote their lives to His service. 1BIO 115.7

It was a scene of terror and confusion. As the boat rocked, one lady above me fell out of her berth to the floor, crying out at the top of her voice. Another turned to me and asked, “Are you not terrified? I suppose it is a fact that we may never reach land.” 1BIO 116.1

I told her I made Christ my refuge, and if my work was done, I might as well lie in the bottom of the ocean as in any other place; but if my work was not done, all the waters of the ocean could not drown me. My trust was in God, that He would bring us safe to land if it was for His glory.—Ibid., 240. 1BIO 116.2

He did! 1BIO 116.3