Monday’s lesson, The Shipwreck, reminds me of another storm at sea and the faith of a young girl. Below is a remarkable account of Ellen Harmon, no more than eighteen years old. She is on a steamboat leaving Portland Maine that has just run into a very dangerous storm. While many were fearful for their lives, this young girl, when asked by an older woman why she was not afraid like everyone else, could answer with assurance.
“I told her I had 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.” Ellen White, Life Sketches, p. 241
Young Ellen was confident like Paul, not that she would necessarily survive the storm, but that God’s purpose would be fulfilled and the Gospel would be spread around the world, regardless of her fate in the storm. God did indeed have a work for Ellen to do. Ellen later married James White, an Adventist pioneer, and the rest is history.
God also has a purpose for each of us. Our goal in this world should not necessarily be to live a long life, but to live a faithful life. Sometimes we ask God where the safest place to be is, when what we should really be asking God is simply, “Where do you want me to be?” As long as we have the assurance young Ellen Harmon had, that we are in God’s care and doing God’s work, the longevity of our life is not consequential, and we shall be prepared to walk away from this world either by death or the Second Coming at any time.
Each has his own experience, peculiar in its character and circumstances, to accomplish a certain work. God has a work, a purpose, in the life of each of us. Every act, however small, has its place in our life experience. – Ellen White, Testimonies Volume 3 Page 541