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Sabbath Test

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, July 29.

By Andrew McChesney


arta loved music. She had played the violin since she was a small girl. And now she had a chance to study at the music school of her dreams in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade.

But Marta had a big problem. She needed to pass a test to enter the school. The test was to play the violin for a group of teachers. The test would be on Sabbath.

Marta would not take the test on Sabbath. For her, Sabbath was a holy day to worship God in church and spend special time with Him all day — from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. She remembered the fourth commandment, which says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work” (Exodus 20:8-10, NKJV).

Marta would be happy to take the test on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday or even Friday. She had those six days to labor and to do all her work. But the seventh day was the Sabbath. In it she would do no work, including taking the test to enter the music school.

Marta felt that she had no hope. She thought, sadly, “Going to music school must not be God’s plan for me.”

Still, she prayed for God’s will to be done. Father and Mother prayed for God’s will to be done. Friends from church prayed for God’s will to be done.

Then the music school invited Marta’s parents to a special meeting.

Father and Mother listened patiently as a teacher listed all the rules that Marta would have to follow if she studied at the music school. When the teacher finished, Father asked to meet the principal.

In the principal’s office, Father said Marta would be happy to follow the school’s rules, but she also had another rule that she wanted to follow: God’s fourth commandment.

“Marta won’t be able to take the test on Saturday,” Father said. “Perhaps she could take the test on Friday or Sunday instead?”

The principal immediately shook her head.

“That would not be possible,” she said.

The principal said the date could not be changed because it had never been changed before. She said Marta was the first person to ask for the test to be changed.

Father did not give up.

“Would it be possible for Marta to take the test after sunset on Saturday?” he said.

The principal was silent. She was confused. Then she asked, “When does to the sun go down on Saturday?”

“I guess it will be around 8:10 p.m.,” Father said.

“Then it would be impossible,” the principal said. “Our school is open only until 8 p.m.”

But she felt compassion for Marta and promised to try to help.

Marta waited for a long time. She kept practicing the violin as if she would be able to take the test after sunset on Sabbath. She prayed. Her parents prayed. Church members prayed.

Several days before the test, a teacher from the music school called. She said the time for the test had been changed. Marta could take the test after sunset! It was a miracle! Never before had the school changed the time of the test.

The day of the test was a cold and rainy Sabbath. Marta was supposed to spend the day practicing the violin so she would be able to play her best at the music school in the evening. But instead of playing the violin, Marta set aside her work and went to church. She worshiped the God who ended His work which He had done on the seventh day and rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done (Genesis 2:2).

After sunset, Marta played well. The teachers were impressed. But, more importantly, Marta felt peace and contentment in her heart. By keeping the Sabbath, she had made God first in her life, and now she knew that He was with her.

When the test results were announced, 14-year-old Marta got a perfect score. She was able to go to the music school of her dreams! “That experience convinced me that I should never lose hope,” Marta says. “Though I sometimes may think that there is no way out of a situation, I now know that God always has a plan, that He has a way out, and that I only need to surrender and trust Him.”

God is doing great things in Belgrade, Serbia, where Marta goes to music school. Your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago helped open a new church there.