How the Sabbath Changed My Life

In this post, read my personal testimony of how the Sabbath dramatically changed my life for the better!

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The Sabbath is among the most powerful commandments the Great God has given us. While most people see it as a burden, I see it as a blessing. It comes with powerful and incredible benefits for those who keep it.

That’s what I have realized and proven to myself over and over again as I continue in my Christian walk.

Looking back in my life, there are just so many instances where I’ve seen how Yahweh directed my path and helped me through some of the greatest trials. Chief among them was how He helped me get through my college years.

The journey has begun

I was born into a poor family in the southern part of the Philippines. I spent my early childhood in a squatter’s area. It isn’t a great place to live but I love the fact that there are a lot of kids in our community to play with.

In my young mind, I had already seen the ugly side of life. We lived near a river and so, there was a lot of garbage. We don’t even have a decent toilet. The place was congested and people did their best just to make ends meet.

My parents were hardworking people. They worked so hard to give us a decent meal every day. I remember when we were eating together, my father suddenly fell out of his chair. He had been working all night and the lack of sleep just wrecked his health.

If there’s one important thing that my father has taught me, it is the importance of education.

When I was a kid, he always reminded me of how finishing my studies would allow me to get a better life than what we had at that time. He told me how it unlocks a lot of wonderful opportunities and how it can help me fulfill my dreams.

I took his advice seriously.

Poverty is not an excuse

So when I went to college, I was devastated at the prospect that I couldn’t proceed. My parents mentioned that they would let my elder brother finish college first until we have enough money.

That didn’t stop me.  I still applied and took college entrance exams from different universities. Though I knew that I might not even get to college, I just prepare myself just in case God will make a way for me.

And yes He did!

My auntie told me that there’s a special scholarship program in their city and all I need is to meet their grading requirements.

Lo and behold, my grades were more than enough for me to be enrolled!

Reaching my dreams

So, there I was, standing at the gate of the University of Makati, filled with inexpressible hopes and dreams. Because of the full scholarship that I received, I know that I’m going to fulfill my goals in life.

I took up a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at college. It was actually a fad during my time. Filipinos were raving about becoming a nurse and working abroad – something that most of my countrymen saw as a sure way to have a good life.

So, I simply followed what’s popular at that time. After all, I also wanted to be a doctor someday and this could be the stepping stone that would move me closer to that goal.

The first semester of my college years went by too quickly without too much problem. However, after a few months, the problems started to pop up.

In danger of losing my scholarship

As a Sabbath keeper, I made it a point to worship on this holy day. I recognize that the Sabbath, the time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, is a time for God and family. We don’t get to decide how we are going to spend it.

One of my subjects in college is scouting where we were required to attend a three-day camping program and yes, it fell on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

This made me sad. You can just imagine how I felt that day. I was expecting that I will be able to finish my college years but not attending our weekend camp out would mean I would get an incomplete grade and therefore, I will lose my scholarship. My scholarship was the primary thing that kept me in college.

A crucial choice to make

So, there I was, I talked to our professor. I explained to him that I keep the Sabbath and I can’t join our camping. He just laughed. He thought I was just joking. He told me that it is part of the curriculum and there was nothing he can do about it. It was either I attend and pass his class or I ignore it and fail.

I was given a choice that day – whether to obey my professor or God, to please man or our heavenly Father.

There were voices at the back of my head telling me to simply compromise and give in, to just attend this once. I was rationalizing things and justifying my actions. I told myself that God will understand.

However, something also told me that this is a golden opportunity to let my light shine and let other people know that I serve the living God who will help me get through this problem. Yes, He will understand my predicament, but that doesn’t mean I pass his test.

So, I politely told my professor, “I will not attend the camping program. If I will fail, so be it.”

The unexpected plan of God

Friday came Saturday, and then, Sunday. The thought of failing just can’t leave my head. I was sad at the time with the prospect that it might be my last year in college. I was seeing all my dreams fading right before my eyes.

When Monday came, I approached our professor. He told me, “Mr. Infantado, I thought you were not serious. You really didn’t join our camping activity.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied with a shaky voice.

“Well, you know what this means, right?” my professor quipped as he folded his arms above his big belly.

I said, “Yes, but is there really no other way for me to pass your subject?” I was starting to lose hope, but what he said next gave me a reason to believe that I still have a chance.

He told me, “You can go ahead and speak to our department coordinator.”

So, I did. I stood behind our coordinator’s door, took a deep breath, and knocked. I approached our coordinator’s table silently and was startled by her strong voice.

“So, you are Joshua, the one I’m hearing from your professor. He said that you didn’t attend our camping activity because of your Sabbath.”

Before I can say yes, she blurted, “Well, I’m a Sabbath keeper too!”

At that moment, I can’t believe what I just heard that I want to ask her to repeat what she just said!

I mean, WOW! Talk about how God can miraculously arrange everything at the right time and at the right moment!

I never knew that our coordinator was a Sabbath keeper. It was the first time that I met her. Who else would have planned this miraculous turn of events but God!

She told me, “I kind of admire you because you didn’t attend our camping activity just because of the Sabbath. I’m older than you and yet, I was there because I need to.”

I tried to bite my dry lips and swallowed my saliva to start talking.

I said, “Yes, ma’am. I’m here to ask for your kind consideration to please allow me to pass my subject because if not, I’ll lose my scholarship.”

I was totally relieved by what she said to me.

“No worries. Go back to your professor and tell him you have my permission to simply get a special project.”

I felt totally blown away by what she said. Just moments ago, I was devastated and now, I’m overjoyed!

I quickly went back to our professor and told him what our coordinator said. He was surprised! He told me:

“Joshua, there are only two students who were given a special project; one is you and the other student who is pregnant.”

At that moment, everything fell in its place. I went outside our admin building with so much happiness and joy that I couldn’t explain. It felt like the birds were singing, the wind was embracing me, the flowers were dancing, and the sun was smiling!

I just saw how God worked in my life at that time. Indeed, we walk by faith and not by sight. If we only do our part, God will do His. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us in and through our trials.

Another problem that tested my commitment

Now, that’s not the only time when my faith was tested. That was only the first and definitely not the last. There were other instances when I almost compromised the Sabbath, but the miracles I experienced before have given me the blessed confidence that God will help me.

During my third year in college, I, once again, encountered a big problem. It was the time when our class schedules didn’t fall on just weekdays. As part of a block section, I can’t change the schedule given to our class. Sadly, two of my subjects fell on the Sabbath. One is on Friday night and the other is on Saturday morning.

I went to our college secretary’s office to ask if there’s any way I can still keep the Sabbath. As I was waiting in the lobby, some people in the office asked me why I was there. I told them I would like to ask for a Sabbath exemption.

They were quick to tell me that what I was asking is too difficult to do. They explained to me that doing so would also encourage other students to do the same and ask for changes in schedules. Not only that but being part of the block section and changing my schedule would mean that I will mess up the whole scheduling of all the sections.

However, that didn’t discourage me. I knew that God will help me. He has helped me in the past and He will definitely help me now.

Changing schedule was not allowed

So, I proceeded and talked to our college secretary. I immediately received a cold, “no.” I explained in the best way I could that I’m a Sabbath keeper and I can’t attend classes during the Sabbath.

Our college secretary won’t listen. He told me that nothing can be done. He explained to me that he had students before who came to him and ask for reconsiderations in compromising school policies on religious grounds. He didn’t give in to their request.

I could still remember what he told me that day:

“I have never allowed students to change policies in our school in the past and you will not be the first student whom I’m going allow.”

Crying out to God

My heart broke and I didn’t notice that my eyes were starting to well up with tears. I walked away from our college secretary wondering what else I can do. I actually can’t think of anything more. I didn’t have any plans anymore. But I know God has a plan.

So, I went to our college library and prayed earnestly that God would grant me favor in the sight of our secretary. I ask for God’s wisdom and help me say the right words to persuade the right people.

Asking the second time

After a while, I went back to our college secretary. At that time, he was in one of the classrooms signing papers of students. It was the enrolment week, so there are a lot of students finalizing their class schedules.

I just sit there for a while as I know our college secretary was busy. He can see me from his table. I just waited. After a few moments, he called me.

He asked me one question, “Why did you cry?”

I told him that I’m serious about keeping the Sabbath but I’m also serious about finishing my college degree. I also told him that I remembered my parents who were very hopeful for me to eventually graduate. I explained to him that the school scholarship was the reason I was able to still attend college.

I persuaded him that I really wanted to earn my bachelor’s degree, but at the same time, not violate my conscience. I told him I need his help for me to achieve this.

From “no” to “yes”

All of a sudden, he started opening up to me. He shared his life with me and how he came from a poor family and it was through his education that he was able to help out his parents. I was surprised. Just a few hours ago, he was stiff, strict, and cold to me. Now, here he was, sharing his stories with me.

After a while, he asked me to fill out a few documents and submit them to his office. He told me that if I need to change my schedule, I would have to attend Sunday classes. He asked me, “Is that okay?”

I said, “Of course!” I keep the Sabbath on Saturdays and not Sundays. So, this is definitely a great win-win solution for me. So, what will happen is that I’m still an official part of our block section. However, I’ll just attend the same subjects on Sunday. My professor would then give my grades to the other professor of my original class.

Problem solved.

I would have not done it without God’s help. He was the One who helped me speak the right words and he touched the heart of our college secretary.

What’s more, our college secretary had become a friend of mine! Not really a close friend, but someone who I talk to whenever I meet him in our hall. Not only that but I also gained new friends from my Sunday classes!

(Sadly, a few years after I graduated, I heard the news that our college secretary committed suicide.)

God’s favor shines on those who keep the Sabbath

There were times when I go to the Feast of Tabernacles and have to be away for eight days from school. This happened every year. Admittedly, I do worry about my grades. But when I come back, I even have higher grades than my classmates.

Because of my occasional request for a change of schedule, the admin staff already knew me. They have become familiar with me and we eventually became friends as well.

God does give favor to His children. When we do His commandments, He will also help us in our trials.

I finished college with honors. Now, did I achieve those because I’m good? I’m intelligent? Or I’m gifted?

OF COURSE NOT! Far from it. It is not that I’m good, but God is good. He is the one who made things right for me. He is bigger than anything in this world!

This reminds me of a beautiful passage in Psalm 37:3-7:

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in Yahweh,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to Yahweh,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in Yahweh, and wait patiently for Him.

Guided by God through the Sabbath

The experiences I got from my college years had exponentially strengthened my faith in God. Sometimes, we just don’t know how things will unfold. However, God invites us to take Him at His word. After all, He had already made a promise. It is up to us to trust Him and surrender our lives in His hands.

Today, I can always look back and tell everyone how God dramatically changed my life. The Sabbath has become a guiding principle for me. For example, when I was looking for a job, I made sure that I won’t be working the Sabbath.

If an employer won’t allow me to keep the Sabbath, that’s God’s way of saying that job is not for me. Because I keep the Sabbath, I let God lead me to where I should be.

Today, I’m working as an online freelance writer, a job I never imagined I would be doing. But to my surprise, it’s the best job for me. I can keep the Sabbath and God’s Festivals. I can work at home and be with my family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When you allow God to guide you, He will show you the path of life. He will make sure that you will have everything you need to help you fulfill His purpose for you.

It won’t be easy, but God is there for you

Let me tell you the truth, keeping the Sabbath in this secular world, won’t be easy. Not only that but because almost all people rest on Sundays, you will have a hard time finding a job that will allow you to have a Sabbath off.

However, one thing is for sure, like what I was able to prove in my life, God will never forsake you. He will always make a way.

God commanded us to keep the Sabbath. Yahweh is not an irrational God who will ask us to do something that we can’t possibly do.

So, whatever difficulties you are facing right now as you try to keep the Sabbath, be still. Let God handle all your worries and problems.

Peter wrote:

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

God wants us to cast all our cares upon Him. Why? Because He cares for us.

This is more than a promise, my friend, but it is a command.

Surrender everything to God and be pleasantly surprised and amazed how He will turn things around. He will always make a way for you. As Moses, thousands of years ago said, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.”

I hope my story has inspired you. Stop worrying and start trusting God. Stop compromising and start keeping the Sabbath. You will never know how the Almighty will work in your life until you let Him.


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