Finding the Sabbath truth is an exciting time in the life of a believer! We check each Scripture that pertains to the day, and then we double check them just to be sure. We peruse the New Testament with a careful eye, looking for when the day may have been changed, but don’t find it because it’s not in there! Finally, upon diligent seeking, the truth is affirmed in our spirit by our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit. We are filled with joy at the new revelation, and resolve to begin observing the Sabbath for ourselves, and to share this truth with others. Our joy is often dashed, however, when our exciting news is received with less than enthusiasm. Our family, friends, coworkers and even our church congregation often do not understand the change in us. They can even be less than loving in their attitude toward us. Often, with growth in our journey with our God, the going will get tough! But do not fear obedience. Our Heavenly Father will walk you through it.
The first place it might get tough is with your family. Sabbath is a relatively new concept, and many will associate it with being Jewish or with rejecting the perfect work of our Messiah when He was crucified. We have been shown that Sabbath is for all of God’s children, but many don’t understand yet in their own journey. As we prepare to share the Sabbath truth with our loved ones, we can reduce the toughness by being ready for their questions. We have to do the Scripture study and have it on hand. Then we have to speak with the love of God in our tone. We shouldn’t highlight the “wrongness” of not observing Sabbath, but illuminate the “rightness,” the rest, the peace, and the commandment. Draw near in prayer to God, for He is faithful to answer your questions. He will help you to speak right words. We must give our loved ones time and walk out our talk! We may come across a loved one who has a hostile attitude toward our new obedience. This kind of trial can only be laid on the altar, with complete faith that God will work it out. Even when we face a hostile attitude, God would have us keep our own attitude loving and peaceful. It’s helpful to pray that God will soften their heart. We’re warned in the Bible that following Him will cost us something. How else could it be worth anything?
Many loved ones and friends might not understand when we don’t attend certain engagements or activities that fall on the Sabbath Day. Each occasion requires our prayerful consideration. Several events have an alternative solution. For instance, instead of just declining an early dinner party invitation for Saturday, we can find out if we could drop in after sundown to join the fun. Instead of not going to our nephew’s 2:00 p.m. birthday party on the Sabbath, we could take him out the previous evening for ice cream and cake (complete with candles and singing) and a movie. We can explain why we won’t be at the party and assure him that his birthday is important to us. This is an area where we can get creative. Again, some things just won’t pan out, and we give those to God.
At work, we face a whole different kind of battle. Trying to get the boss to reschedule our week if he’s used to us working the Saturday shift can be work in itself. Again, this is an area where we seek God and His will. We have to give our employer time to adjust the schedule if he can, or we may face what seems to be an impasse. We have to keep walking in love while our Father in Heaven works on our behalf. New employment might become necessary, or we may have to keep to our old schedule altogether. I have found that when I step out in obedience, my Father opens the right doors and makes the necessary adjustments come to pass. While we wait on God, we can spend our lunch break sharing the Sabbath Truth with our friends in our workplace. Then, we face each challenge individually as it comes.
Our church congregation challenges may prove to be the most difficult. The Sabbath doctrine is a very personal one. We must cling tightly into our prayer life for direction and be able to discern God’s “voice” from our own, or even from the voice of the enemy. Some are greeted with encouragement and support from their church families,and others, like myself, are excommunicated from their congregation. It isn’t that our brethren hate us, it’s that they haven’t yet had the truth revealed to them from On High. Again, we must be patient and loving. In the event that our church family should make us unwelcome in their fold, it will become necessary for us to trust God to set us up within a like-minded church family. We can be encouraged to remember that our Savior had the same problems with the religious leaders in His Day. We can be sure He hears our prayers and even our frustrations because He’s been there!
Tough times in the life of any believer will come and go. This is the way of our fallen world. We need not despair, though, because we have an advocate praying for us in Heaven who has already overcome the world. The blessings of keeping the Sabbath will always outweigh the tough times we’ll face in doing so! As we walk through our valleys, we keep our Heavenly Father first, we press into Him for guidance and we exercise the fruits of the Spirit in us when dealing with those who are bringing us grief. We can be encouraged in Scripture by Isaiah, who tells us that, when our Messiah reigns on Earth, all of God’s family will gather and celebrate Sabbath together!