Ellen was at home praying one day with her mother and brother, Robert. Suddenly a rock crashed into the window behind Ellen, and broken glass came sprinkling down on her. Ellen was not hurt by the glass, but continued praying and asking God for His protection. The man who threw the rock stood outside cursing, but as he heard the clear, calm voice of prayer inside the house, he ran away, frightened and ashamed.
A few days later, while Ellen’s family was praying again, two neighbors came bursting into the house and shouted, “Up, and off your knees – in 15 minutes the police will come and arrest you!” But the little group continued praying. These unkind neighbors kept coming back, saying the same thing again and again.
Later that afternoon police officers came to the house, and some of the neighbors raised their windows to hear what would be said. Ellen’s father was at work, so her mother talked with the policeman at the door. He told her he had gotten many complaints from their neighbors about noisy praying at this house, sometimes late at night.
Ellen’s mother told the policeman about Daniel in the Bible, praying three times a day to God, even though the king had a law that forbade such prayer. The policeman said, “I don’t see anything wrong with your praying, but the neighbors say it bothers them to hear you pray at night.”
Ellen’s mother answered, “If anyone in my home is sick or troubled at night, we call upon God for relief. He always helps us when we do this. But we are not acting in a noisy or bothersome way.”
Then Ellen’s mother asked the policeman, “A nearby neighbor often speaks loud, angry curses when he gets drunk.
Why don’t the neighbors complain about him?” How strange that this man’s loud, devilish words didn’t seem to bother the neighbors, while the gentle voice of prayer greatly troubled them!
‘‘Well,” said the officer, “what shall I tell them you will do?’
Ellen’s mother replied, “Serve God, and let the consequences be what they may.” The officer left, having nothing more to say.
A few days later some teenage boys started shouting outside Ellen’s house while she and her family were having evening devotions. After a while the boys ran for a policeman to complain about a disturbance at the house. The policeman hurried back with the boys, who said, “Listen!”
After listening carefully to the beautiful, loving prayers that were being spoken inside the house, the policeman turned to the boys and said, “Is this what you have called me out for? That family is doing what every family ought to do. They are making no disturbance; and if you call me for this purpose again, I will put you in the lockup for disturbing a peaceable family attending to their religious duties.” After this Ellen’s family had no more trouble from their neighbors.
That summer brought many thunderstorms. Ellen’s neighbors were frightened by the storms. From time to time some of the people in the area were killed by lightning. Whenever it looked like a storm was coming, some parents sent their children over to Ellen’s house and told them to stay there until the storm was over. One of the children told Ellen’s mother, “Ma says the lightning will not strike a house where the Advent people are.” How sad that these neighbors would not trust God for themselves!
One night a very big storm struck. The thunder was booming like cannons, and the sky blazed with lightning, as though the whole world were on fire. Some people rushed out of their beds and into the street, begging God for mercy, because they thought the end of the world had come.
Ellen’s brother, Robert, went out into the street, praising the Lord. The scene thrilled his heart because it made him think of the soon-coming day when Jesus will return. But he thought sadly also of the terror and hopelessness of those who do not love God, and of how frightening a day it will be for them when Jesus comes. Frightening because they chose to live sinfully and would not let Jesus into their hearts.
Read Psalm 91 and see all the beautiful promises of safety and protection for those who love God, no matter how many dangers and troubles arise. Ask God to help you put your trust in Him.