Here is a story from my family tree which reveals two things–parents have been misusing their power over their children for generations and despite parental abandonment, God never leaves us.
Through the centuries, St. Paul’s Cathedral has hosted many of England’s majestic events. These include the wedding of Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth’s eightieth birthday, but in 1883, just fourteen years before Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, another event not nearly so well-known took place inside its magnificent Baroque walls. The compassionate God who foresaw Diana’s marriage of pain, stooped especially close to listen as a young man was about to be ordained in the spring of 1883.
This young man was my great, great, grandfather, Arthur Herbert Mellish. He was educated for the ministry in the Anglican Church. His father was in banking and he and his many siblings had been born abroad in exotic ports. Many of his family members were present to see him ordained. During his ordination service in St. Pauls Cathedral –he was asked if he had any questions and Arthur said, “yes.” He asked why have we done the things we ought not, and have not done the things we ought to do?” He continued, “Why do we not change, and do the things we ought to do? Why do we keep Sunday, when the Bible says to keep the Seventh-day holy?”
Well that was enough to stop his ordination. The family was so humiliated and disgraced that his father came to his room that night and gave him a one way ticket to America on the ship “Baltic.”
I can’t imagine why fathers shun their children who don’t agree with their theology, but one thing always rings true, God never leaves us. Disowned by his family and exiled to America in April of 1883, at the age of twenty-one, Arthur was heartbroken and alone and he never went back home to England.
In America—he found room and board by working on a farm. There was a family who lived across the road who had a daughter Arthur found attractive. Her name was Sedora. As he got to know her, he discovered Sedora’s family had recently had a visitor who was selling books and every time the peddler tried to leave their farm, he grew dizzy and fell down and had to stay longer. During his illness, he felt well enough to teach them about the Bible Sabbath. Arthur had never heard of a Seventh-day Adventist before, but he was about to marry one and become one himself.
Arthur and Sedora fell in love, married and had children. Their son was John Edward Mellish who became a semi-famous astronomer and discovered the craters on Mars. My grandma was his child and their granddaughter. Her favorite place to spend the Sabbath was in their home. Every sunset at Friday was a special time because it signaled the beginning of the Sabbath when all their work was set aside much like a holiday to spend time with each other and God. They never lost their joy of the Sabbath and passed it on to my Grandma, who passed it on to me.
God-stories like this found in the family tree give me reassurance that God sees all and He never leaves us. Many of us might feel abandoned by our parents at times, but we are never abandoned by God. That old sea serpent the Leviathan might even stir up the waters around us, but like Job, we can always rely on God to make things right in the end. If you are feeling alone tonight, rest in Jesus and let Him lead your ship to a safer port. Peace, be still.