When William Miller sparked a revival that shook the ranks of Christianity in America, many sought to be right with God in preparation for Jesus’ return. Ellen’s family gladly embraced the good news, but soon after, they were disfellowshipped from their church because of these controversial beliefs.
Thus Ellen White’s life of Christian service began in the most difficult of circumstances one might ever experience in a faith journey. Recently expelled by the church in which she was baptized, her family could only look forward to the predicted moment of Christ’s return, as taught by William Miller, only to be bitterly disappointed again.
Of course, Jesus did not return in 1844 as the Millerites (the movement started by William Miller) had expected. Thousands of souls were crestfallen, and many even abandoned their beliefs altogether. Some had sold all their earthly possessions in anticipation of Jesus’ second coming.
Most probably, if Ellen had not such a close relationship with her Lord, she would have been unprepared for the profound disappointment. She recalled: “It was a bitter disappointment that fell upon the little flock whose faith had been so strong and whose hope had been so high. But we were surprised that we felt so free in the Lord, and were so strongly sustained by His strength and grace. . . . We were disappointed, but not disheartened.”
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