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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)

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    The Journey Home

    Sunday evening, January 12, just after the session closed, the White party was on their way to California via Chicago.5BIO 144.2

    Monday morning in Chicago, Ellen White had her first ride in an automobile. H. W. Kellogg, formerly manager of the Review and Herald, and now connected with the manufacturing of the W. O. Worth automobile, arranged to have one of these cars there to take the traveling party to the Sanitarium downtown. A wheelchair had been brought to help move Mrs. White from the train to the car and from the car to the sanitarium. To Edson and Emma she reported: “I could not have been treated more kindly by my sons than I was by these young men.”—Letter 22, 1902. She described the automobile as a “covered carriage, shaped like a streetcar”(Letter 11, 1902). She lay down on one of the seats that ran along each side.5BIO 144.3

    She was exhausted when they reached the Sanitarium at 28 33d Place, and 33-year-old Dr. David Paulson treated her very gently. But his feelings about her venturing out on such a journey were much less gentle. Ellen White was to write of it to Edson and Emma after reaching home:5BIO 144.4

    Dr. Paulson was very tender of me, and gave me an earnest scolding for leaving California at this time of the year. I took it, thinking I might deserve it. He told the truth from his standpoint and perhaps from my own. He was thoroughly indignant to think that the brethren had had no more mercy on me.5BIO 144.5

    “Why,” he said, “I wonder that you are alive. We have too much interest in you and your work to want to bury you. We want your life to be spared.” He was certainly very much aroused as he saw my feebleness. He talked as if he could not be reconciled to what I had done. I told him that I might have made a mistake.5BIO 144.6

    “Yes,” he said, “I am sure of it. You will lose your life if you venture to travel at this season of the year. Circumstances will occur that you cannot control. The Lord wants no such presumptuous movements. Your life is too precious to be thrown away in this manner.”—Letter 22, 1902.5BIO 145.1

    And a few weeks later, after reflecting on Paulson's “most decided scolding,” she wrote to Elder Butler:5BIO 145.2

    But I dare not say it was a mistake [to go to New York in midwinter]. I leave it all with the Lord. Certainly, I should not have gone to New York had I seen the end from the beginning. But I did not, and therefore I went, in response to the call of Elder Haskell, and in obedience, I thought, to the impression of the Spirit of God.—Letter 27, 1902.5BIO 145.3

    At Oakland, C. H. Jones met the travelers and took them by streetcar to his home for the night. While on the tram Ellen White brought up the subject of a call to Jones to go to Battle Creek to manage the publishing house there. That matter had been discussed with her in the East. She saw no light in the proposal. At breakfast she brought up the subject again, and Jones showed her his letter turning down the invitation. She nodded her approval and then in sad, yet yearning, tones repeated the words of Christ appearing in Matthew 11:21: “‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.’”5BIO 145.4

    A hush fell over the group around the table. What did it mean? When the guests had left for St. Helena and Jones went to the office, he called his secretary and dictated a letter addressed to Elder Daniells, recounting the incident in the light of the call for him to go to Battle Creek:5BIO 145.5

    I am afraid that city is doomed so far as our work is concerned. There are other things that Sister White said in regard to the work in Battle Creek which I do not feel free to mention, but I am really alarmed at the situation. There still seems to be a desire on the part of some, at least, to centralize everything at Battle Creek.—C. H. Jones to AGD, January 17, 1902.5BIO 145.6

    On the journey West, Ellen White was unable to eat much, and this was so for a week after she arrived home. Then suddenly her appetite returned and she became insatiably hungry. “I am like a fever patient who has been half starved,” she declared. “I feel hungry, hungry.”—Letter 8, 1902.5BIO 146.1

    On days when the weather permitted, she rode out in her carriage. It was not until mid-March that she was able to venture to speak in public and to take up her work in a normal fashion again.5BIO 146.2

    In the story of the trip to New York Ellen White related to the leading of God's Spirit, probing His opening providences, weighing the impressions, as would any dedicated child of Christ. She felt she should go to New York, but she admitted that it might have been a mistake. She would have to leave it with the Lord. For her own part, she thought she had followed the Spirit's leading. She was grateful that her life had been spared.5BIO 146.3

    Was her experience much different from that of the apostle Paul when, on arriving at Jerusalem, he felt it was his duty to follow the counsel of his brethren and entered upon certain purification services at the Temple that led to his arrest and imprisonment? Such experiences make it clear that God's prophets, while decidedly and unquestionably led of God in the messages that they bore and the counsel and instruction that they gave, were not in each activity of everyday life and work specifically commanded of God. In the absence of special light from heaven, they must reach out by faith and in trust seek God's guidance and direction, and move in harmony with the tokens that they feel indicate His guidance.5BIO 146.4

    And now what of the future and all the work Ellen White saw before her? Ten days after reaching home she pledged:5BIO 146.5

    I have suffered much, but my life is spared. I thank the Lord for this; for I have much to do. I shall be very careful of my strength.—Letter 11, 1902.5BIO 146.6

    A few days later she thanked the Lord that she could continue to write, but she was unable to use her voice. She recalled that even while she was so sick in Nashville, her head was clear and she could write.5BIO 146.7

    It was with rejoicing that on March 18 she was able to pray aloud at family worship. And she could walk again. She exclaimed, “I rejoice to think that I may hope to be once more as well as I was before I went to New York.”—Letter 41, 1902.5BIO 147.1

    Shortly after this she tested her voice by speaking Sabbath morning in the little Calistoga church. By mid-April, after speaking twice in Calistoga, testing her strength and physical ability, she accepted an invitation to speak in the Sanitarium Church. She had made a full comeback. Solemnly she declared: “The burden of my book work must not again be laid down as it has been.”—Letter 21, 1902.5BIO 147.2

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