Difficult days challenged the Advent believers in Portland, Maine, following the great disappointment of October 22, 1844. Some clung to the hope that the mistake involved a miscalculation of only a few days, and lived in constant expectancy. They believed that Jesus would come at almost any moment and that probation was closed. But as the days stretched into weeks and Jesus did not come, their faith began to waver.
"Why, oh, why were we disappointed?" their hearts cried out. They had been confident that God had been leading them as they studied, worked, and prayed. How could they be mistaken in the integrity of the 1844 date?
By December most of the believers in the Portland area had abandoned their confidence in Miller's interpretation. Every passing day drove home the conviction that nothing of prophetic significance had taken place on October 22.
Nothing could have been more timely and calculated to cheer the spirits of the dedicated believers than the vision given to Ellen Harmon in December in the Haines home. This presented an entirely different picture. God had led His people. The light behind them that shone all along the path was the Midnight Cry. The vision revealed that they were at the beginning of the path rather than at the end. If they trusted the light and kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, they would safely enter into their reward.