What Might Have Been — Can Be

What Might Have Been — Can Be

Commentary | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Jim Ayer/Adventist Review

A new church-produced film has not been completed because you and I have a part in its final scenes, including at the General Conference session

What is your reaction to the following statement by Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White? 

“By giving the gospel to the world, it is in our power to hasten the coming of the day of God. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to the earth in power and great glory” (Review and Herald, Nov. 13, 1913).

That is a troublesome statement for some people to this day. The query is raised: “Can God really be waiting on us to help finish the work? He doesn’t need our help, does He?”

The answer is close at hand, recorded in the Old Testament. It’s the story of the Israelites and their wanderings in the desert.A survey of their history provides us with an understanding of both our present and future. The apostle Paul said it best, “And all these things happened to them as examples; and it is written for our warning on whom the ends of the world have come” (1 Cor. 10:11 NKJV). 

It could have taken a mere 11 days to journey from Egypt and to enter the Promised Land. But instead the Israelites ate sand for 40 years, dying in the desert, because self continually rose up and fought against the perfect will of God. 

Thus it was that Ellen White lamented after receiving a vision in 1903: “Had they given evidence that they received the counsels and warnings sent by the Lord to correct their mistakes, there would have been one of the greatest revivals that there has been since the day of Pentecost.” 

Who are the “they” spoken of? Delegates to the 1901 General Conference Session held in Battle Creek. 

White went on to say: “The leaders closed and bolted the door against the Spirit's entrance. There was a stopping short of entire surrender to God.” 

Do you notice the similarity of actions depicted here and those of the children of Israel?

Some may question exactly to whom the 1903 vision was referencing, but in so doing the true point may be lost in the haze of discussion. God is yearning for a body of people who will surrender all to Him, desiring nothing less than to be fully consumed in a friendship with the One “altogether lovely” and to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Song of Solomon 5:16, Rev. 14:4 NKJV). God is still yearning for such a people. 

The film you are about to watch captures the amazing moments of “What Might Have Been” at the 1901 General Conference session. It was produced by the General Conference’s Ministerial Association and released to coincide with the start of the Adventist world church’s 100 Days of Prayer initiative on March 25. Adventists worldwide are invited to pray daily for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the upcoming General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, in July.

The film’s final scenes have not been completed because you and I have a part in them — including at the upcoming General Conference session. 

God wants to lead us, on our knees, into the Promised Land. How will it end? Just as with Israel, God has left that for you and for me to decide because What Might Have Been — Can Be.