While we were in Switzerland I had many letters from a sister whom I dearly love and highly esteem. In every one of these letters were the most gloomy pictures. She seemed to be dwelling on everything objectionable. Soon after I received these letters I prayed the Lord that He would give her help to turn her mind from the channel that it was running in. That night I had a dream presented to me three times. I was walking in a beautiful garden, and Sister Martha —– was by my side. As soon as she came into the garden I said, “Martha, do you not see this beautiful garden? See, here are the lilies, the roses, and the pinks.” “Yes,” she said, as she looked up and smiled. Soon I looked to see where she was. I was looking at the lilies, the roses, and the pinks, and did not see her. She was in another part of the garden, and was grasping a thistle. Then she was pricking her hands on the bramblebushes. She said they hurt her hands, and she asked, “Why do they keep all these thistles and these briers in the garden? Why do they let them stay here?”
Then there appeared before us a tall, dignified man who said, “Gather the roses, the lilies, and the pinks; discard the brambles and touch them not.” Then I awoke, and when I went to sleep I dreamed the very same thing again. Three times I had the same dream, and I arose—because I could not sleep—and wrote to Sister Martha the dream I had had.
Now, said I, God does not want you to gather up everything objectionable; He wants you to look at His wonderful works and at His purity. He wants you to take a view of His matchless love and His power, to look up through the beauties of nature to nature’s God. Said I, This [dream] represents your case exactly. You are dwelling on the dark side. You are talking of those things that give no light and bring no joy into your life. But you must turn your mind from these things to God. There are enough roses, pinks, and lilies in the garden of God’s love so that you need not look at the briers, the thistles, and the brambles. Now, I did not see these things, because I was delighting myself with the flowers and all the beauties of the garden.
Now, that is what we want to do, brethren. We want to have our minds on the encouraging things. We want to have our minds on the new country to which we are to be introduced. Our citizenship is not of this world, but it is above, and we want to consider what characters we should possess in order to become inhabitants of that better world and associates of the saints of God in heaven.
Sister Martha took it, and her soul was lifted above discouragement. Now, I do not want Satan to succeed in throwing his dark shadow across your pathway. I want you to get away from that shadow. The Man of Calvary will throw the light of His love across your pathway and dispel the darkness. He is able to do it and will do it, for He is Lord of all.
Ellen White, “The Ellen G White 1888 Materials”, Sabbath Afternoon Talk, p. 77.