Young Disciple Blog Back to Subscribe RSS

What Might Have Been

by Ellen White

I found myself at Battle Creek. We had gathered in the Tabernacle Church1 for a meeting of the General Conference.2 Prayer was offered, a hymn was sung, and prayer was again offered, with most earnest supplication being made to God. All could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Everyone present seemed sober and serious, and some were weeping out loud.

A man who had been bowed over in prayer arose and said that in the past he had not been in agreement with some of his brethren and that he had felt no love for them. With great solemnity he repeated the message to the Laodicean church: “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”3

“In my self-sufficiency, this is just how I felt,” he confessed. “But God says to me, ‘Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’4 I now see that this is my own condition. I have been hard and unjust, even while I imagined that I was right with God. My heart is broken. Oh, how I need my Savior! Oh, how gracious and compassionate and loving are His words: ‘I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’  ”5

“We have something to do,” the brother continued. “We must confess our sins, and humble our hearts before God.” He himself stepped up to several of the brethren, one after another, and held out his hand, asking for their forgiveness. These men, in turn, sprang to their feet with their own confession. As they did so, they fell upon one another’s necks, weeping. This beautiful spirit of humility and confession spread through the entire congregation.

It was a Pentecostal season. At times, the congregation sang songs of praise, and often they would again fall to their knees in prayer. Far into the night—nearly until morning—the meeting continued. No one seemed too proud to make heartfelt confessions, and those who led out in this work were the highest leaders of the church. In times past, they had not had the courage to confess their sins; but now, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, all was made right. As a result, there was rejoicing such as never before had been heard in the Tabernacle.

Suddenly I found myself far away from this scene. For a moment I could not think where I was, but then I realized I was sitting at my desk at home. My pen was still in my hand. Then, solemn and sobering words were spoken to me: “This might have been. The Lord was waiting to do all this for His people. All Heaven was waiting to be gracious.”

An agony of disappointment came over me as I realized that what I had witnessed was not a reality. It was only what might have been if our church leaders had followed the will and way of God. Instead, the meeting closed and no heart work was accomplished. Men did not humble themselves before the Lord as they should have done, and the Holy Spirit was not imparted.

Editor’s Note: Will we continue on this old world another century—or will we learn from sad mistakes of the past? We can do much by humbling our own hearts before God—and by earnestly praying for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our church leaders.

From Selections from the Testimonies for the Church for the Study of Those Attending the General Conference in Oakland, California, March 27, 1903, pages 9–11. Adapted.

1. This was often called the “Dime Tabernacle,” as the construction had been funded, to a large degree, by dimes contributed each month by church members and the community. 
2. Of 1901.
3. Revelation 3:17.
4. Ibid.
5. Verse 18.

No comments:

Post a Comment