«And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God» (Romans 8:28).
AFTER ELLEN G. WHITE had been widowed, she went to serve God and the church in Australia. This happened toward the end of the nineteenth century, when the country was not the prosperous nation it is today and when there was no way to travel there quickly.
In Australia, Ellen suffered eleven months of malarial fevers and rheumatoid arthritis. She experienced the worst suffering of her life. She could not lift her feet without suffering great pain. The only part of her body that was not in pain was her right arm, from the elbow down. Her hips and lower spine hurt constantly. She could not lay down for more than two hours. She would drag herself to a similar bed to change positions, and that is how she spent her nights. The doctors told her she would never walk again.
At the beginning of her suffering and disability she felt that she could not withstand it, but not long later she was able to understand that affliction was part of God’s plan. She remembered that the Lord had never failed her. Then she prayed fervently and noted the sweetness of the comfort found in God’s promises.
How could she overcome everything? «My Savior seemed to be close beside me. I felt His sacred presence in my heart, and I was thankful. These months of suffering were the happiest months of my life, because of the companionship of my Savior. He was my hope and crown of rejoicing. I am so thankful that I had this experience, because I am better acquainted with my precious Lord and Savior» (The Australian Years 1891— 1900, vol. 4, p. 32).
Ellen suffered a lot in her life. However, she was a very productive and active woman, and from her suffering came a philosophy on suffering that has been a steady and solid support for millions. Her book The Ministry of Healing, along with hundreds of letters, could never have been written with such an ability to have a great impact if her own experience had not provided the human framework to the basic divine principles on a most significant topic.
Many took courage when they saw her happiness and firm resolutions under intense adversity. The years spent in Australia were her most productive: she helped to establish a solid educational and evangelistic program, wrote the Desire of Ages, and more than a thousand letters. Her eighty-seven years of life, her writings, and her ministry demonstrate that with the Lord we can overcome. Her last writings also resonated with joy and Christian hope.
For Paul, for Ellen, and for each one of us, the promise is still current:
«We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose”’ (Rom. 8:28, GNT).