ave you ever stopped to wonder what you will do when you grow up? Some kids hope to be astronauts, others would like to be missionaries, and still, and others may want to be singers or engineers or . . .
James White, one of the three founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wanted to be a teacher. However, he had eye problems and was not able to read well until he was 19 years old! But James was determined to make up for lost time. By studying hard—often 18 hours a day—he was able to learn in 12 weeks what it had taken others 12 years to learn.
After a winter of teaching elementary school, James was eager to start college. But in the meantime, James met the Millerites, and that encounter changed his life. James was convinced that Jesus was coming soon. Even though he tried hard to concentrate on his studies, he became convinced that he should tell his former students that Jesus was soon returning. Because he couldn’t get that idea out of his mind, James set out for his former school in Maine.
Within a few days, James had talked and prayed with all of his former students, telling them about the prophecies he had been studying and how to be ready to meet Jesus. But still, he felt an inner calling to preach—to help prepare people for heaven.
So one January morning in 1843, James set out on a preaching tour. At his first appointment, people packed the schoolhouse where he was to speak, even filling the windows and the door! But some troublemakers attempted to drive James out of town. One of them threw a spike, hitting James in the head.
The next night, mobs of troublemakers surrounded the schoolhouse, even pelting James with snowballs.
James took the spike out of his pocket and shouted above the din of the crowd, “Someone threw this spike at me last night. But why should I resent this insult when my Master had such spikes driven through His hands?”
As the crowd quieted, James began to preach to them about Christ’s love and urged his audience to repent of their sins. After closing the meeting with a prayer, James left the school building. Someone stepped up, took his arm, and guided him through the crowd of troublemakers.
Maybe in heaven, James will meet that “someone.” Do you think it was an angel?
--Adapted by Cindy Tutsch from
James White: Innovator and Overcomer, by Gerald Wheeler. For more great stuff, go to www.whiteestate.org/vez