My Challenge

 

I grew up a Seventh-day Adventist.  The Sabbath was rooted in my memories, my habit. Even though I never decided Sabbath-keeping didn’t matter, when we moved here in the Middle East, I was asked to work occasionally for special occasions.  I was not comfortable. I decided I really wanted to be faithful in keeping the Sabbath. So I asked my pastor for a letter explaining my Sabbath to my employer, the principal of our school where I taught physical education.

When he received the letter, he called me in. “Jon, we like you and we don’t want to let you go.  If I let you skip our Saturday functions, everyone is going to come with excuses, and I would have to give time off to everyone.  But maybe you can talk to your pastor.  He can give you permission.  Or talk to your wife.”

“No, this is not about my pastor,” I explained. “It’s about my relationship with God.  He asks us to keep the Sabbath for Him.”

He wasn’t easily convinced, “Oh, but we like you so much. I don’t want to lose you.  You can tell me you’re sick on Saturdays.” 

It was a completely satisfactory plan for him, but not for me.  “But I cannot lie; that’s another commandment!  I’m telling you that we are supposed to work this Sabbath, and I’m not going to be there.”  So I didn’t show up to the event.

My head teacher came to me.  “What is this?”  I responded, “God is asking us to rest from our work.”

He had a plan of his own.  “I don’t want to lose you.  Do something.  Talk to your wife.”

I went home thinking and praying.  It was a hard time. The next month, we would have to work on Saturday again.  I shared the story with a deeply spiritual friend and he assured me, “We’re going to pray.  We’re going to pray for you.”  Right there everyone in the room kneeled in a circle around me and  put their hands on me.”  One prayer that day was, “God, Jon needs an answer right now.  We ask you that tomorrow, when he goes to school, there will be a straight answer for him.”

The next day my colleagues approached me, “Jon, what do you think about what happened yesterday?”  What happened, I wondered?  I didn’t know, because I hadn’t gone to school that Saturday. 

They were eager to explain.  “The principal told us we were not going to work on Saturdays anymore.”  I started crying; I didn’t know what else to do.  Another colleague confirmed the principal’s announcement.  It seems that another school system had bought our school and there would be no weekend appointments  No parent meetings, no programs, no events. 

That day I felt I was walking so close with God.  I was on fire for two or three months, sharing God to every one.  I say it was the same God walking with me who was walking with Elijah, Moses.  He had done the same miracles even now.

But just two months later, the administration realized the parent meetings were not successful during the week.  We were told we were going to work again on Saturdays.  I was so discouraged; I was crying again!  It slowly came to me that God must have another door for me to go through.  I realized I could not depend on schools and administrations and systems to accommodate my convictions.  I resigned.  That’s when I stepped out in faith and decided to begin my own business, to create a personal job for myself!  I have taken the first steps to becoming a personal training, setting up a business, buying equipment.

And I see His leading.  I know why I am here.  God showed me He can work miracles, but He also wants me to move on!  With much prayer and soul-searching I have stepped out to make my own business, to create my own personal job.  God  is nudging me out of my hole.  He doesn’t want me to stay where I am.  He is able to do whatever He wants to support His call.  

For years I have been well employed.  I have been on the boat, relaxed, comfortable.  But now I need to be like Peter.  Jesus is saying, “Come on! Step out of the boat, walk on the water.”  

I thank God I can walk towards Him.  I can see the answers to a new purpose.  I’m watching Him work!  --JC

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