Early in May I had a full week of finals – five exams, five days, six subjects. I was determined to do well on my exams so that I can glorify God and so that I don’t hurt anyone by giving them the wrong diagnosis or medication (I’m in medical school). Up until then, I had being doing very well on my exams and I had been attending every Sabbath service.
Faced with an overwhelming amount of material to memorize and very little time in between each exam to cram, I decided early in April not to attend Sabbath service anymore and to just attend Friday night Bible study instead because, after all, Friday night is Sabbath, too. And, I still read the Bible and pray everyday, so I hoped that God would be forgiving.
For four consecutive Sabbaths, I stayed at home to study. Then the dreadful week came.
First test. I felt so defeated. I felt like Eeyore… my tail had fallen off. But there was another test the next day so I put aside the frustration and trudged on.
Second test. I felt so defeated. Frustration set in because I failed to memorize. Panic set in because I failed to tell the difference between an infection in the lungs from an infection in the bladder. Doubt set in because I felt like I would make a terrible doctor. Once again my tail fell off.
Third test. Defeated. I had focused my studies on the wrong areas.
Are you catching on? I did. As I prayed, I asked God why I was doing so poorly. I was trying so hard to glorify His Name and yet my preparation and performance turned out to be so weak. Then a thought bolted like lightning into my head. God answered me.
If I do not honor His Sabbath, then I am not worthy of glorifying His Name.
I felt defeated, but at the same time I was really excited because this lesson came from God. I was sad for my foolishness, but thrilled at the opportunity to wise up. I repented.
Fourth test. Less defeated. I repented more.
Fifth test. I won. I ended up scoring highest on this test, but that’s not why I really won. By this time, I understood my mistake and was trying to change my attitude and actions to be more pleasing to God. The progress I make in my faith is my real victory.
13 “ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”