Sabbath vs. Career – By Berith Bermejo

Stethoscope and AppleAs I was finishing my medical training, the specialty board exams were scheduled for Friday. However, the practical exams were scheduled for Saturday.

As a Seventh-day Adventist who sincerely wants to honor the Lord, I began praying that the day for the practical exams would be moved. I asked God to keep me faithful if it was not moved.

After graduation, I applied to take the practical exam on any day other than Saturday. My request was denied. One of my mentors told me to just write an excuse letter to my pastor. (I don’t understand why she would need to write an excuse letter to her pastor. She wants to explain to him why she is taking the exam on Sabbath?) But I knew I could not do this.

As the Friday for the written exam approached, I meditated on Psalms 34:4, which says, “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” I arrived at the venue in peace. The Lord truly heard and helped me pass the written exam.

However, I did not take the practical exam. I didn’t want to break the Sabbath.

Back in my hometown, a couple hospitals initially rejected my application because I had no subspecialty certificate. But God eventually made a way for me to practice my profession.

The next exam year, I sent a letter early to the new chair of the examining board. Friends and family prayed that the exam day would be moved from Saturday. The Lord answered in His time. The practical exam was scheduled for Friday.

As the exam neared, I planned to take a leave from work to concentrate on reviewing. I sought the Lord’s guidance because I had patients to look after. God impressed me to care for my patients instead of preparing for the exam. Amazingly, the patients who showed up had rare illnesses. Caring for these patients prepared me for the test.

With God’s blessing, I passed the practical exam and even got the highest scores in several sections. Later, the mentor who asked me to write an excuse letter to the pastor, said to me, “Indeed, this is a miracle.”

Yes, despite the impossibilities from a human perspective, I found out that God’s grace is indeed sufficient and His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). To Him be all the glory and honor for this accomplishment!

Berith Bermejo writes from the Philippines where she is practicing as a pediatrician and also involved with FAST Missions, calling God’s people back to the Bible.

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  • Wojtek Janiuk

    Amen and Amen

  • khethiwe

    Amen God will always make a way

  • Florence

    Amen hallelujah. I can relate with your testimony because I have been through it. When we stand for God He comes through for and many times not in the way we expect . It is us who do not trust Him enough. Indeed it is amazing. Praise be to His Holy name.

    • Janet Williams

      Praise the Lord!

  • Dettie

    Thank you for sharing. God bless you

  • Ros Farrell

    Thank God for your faith in action which God always honour.

    • Janet Williams

      Amen!

  • Catecha Francis

    It proved that when we take our stand for Jesus, He’ll do the same for us. Your story I’ll share with my sabbath school young people. It pays to serve Jesus every day.
    May the Lord bless and keep you as you work with children.

    • Desiree

      Amen.

    • Sharon

      Indeed He most certainly will!! Amen.

  • Annette Alleyne

    Our God is just and good and will give us the desires of our hearts as He sees fit for our lives. He will come throught for us even when we do not see the how or know the when or where. He knows His plan for our lives and will bring it to pass. We just have to be patient and learn to wait on Him. Waiting is not an easy task and in our impatience we often fail to trust Him when everything seems to be going against us. Let us not be too hasty and run ahead of Him but let patience have her perfect work in our hearts knowing that our God is faithful and will keep His promise to us.

    • Desiree

      Praise GOD. Amen.

    • Sharon

      Hallelujah!

    • Janet Williams

      Amen.

  • Desiree

    Jesus never fails,I praise GOD for showing up when we place our faith,trust and confidence in HIM.

  • Jeanette

    Amen. God is faithful and will always make a way for His children. Thank you for sharing.

  • Helen Barugambire

    Yes, our God is Faithful. The Bible is ful of all these promises. We We just have to Obey.

  • shannon robinson-pitkin

    It pays to serve and trust God wholeheartedly even when faced situations when our faith is tested. He is faithful and always have a way of working things out in the nick of time and when there seems to be the impossibilities. This testimony is indeed a source of encouragement to trust and serve Him wholey.

    • Sharon

      Amen.

  • Letty Kaltonga

    Your story is a blessing and inspiration to us all and I will use it in my personal outreaching program to elderlies, young adults and children. God bless

  • Akudo

    A great testimony. I’m really weak in the areas of keeping the Sabbath Holy. Help me dear Lord of the Sabbath in Jesus name. Amen.

    • Janet Williams

      I have prayed for you. Let’s all pray for each other as the challenges increase. Our God is able. Let us put our trust in Him.

  • Thembie Mapingire

    amen and amen. God is always found when we seek Him. May we seek Him more

  • Gloria Mosha-Onchiri

    Amen Powerful testimony may God be praised He looks after His faithful children.

  • Allison

    Beautiful testimony! One I will need in my times of uncertainty.

  • Muniko

    Amen may blessing of our Lord be upon you.

  • Lots of you people get bogged down with legalism. You need to understand that ours is a loving God and you won’t be “punished” by Him if you have to – out of necessity – work on Sabbath.

    As a pediatrician, would this lady refuse to treat a sick child on Sabbath and let him die?

    • Herald Andrew

      Your argument is misleading. Did she say she won’t treat a sick child on a Saturday? Exams on a Saturday and treating someone on Saturdays seem to be very different. 🙂

      • I’m saying that if you choose a career that might require working on Sabbath, then why suddenly decide to “stand your ground” on an exam to enter said career? Seems like attention-mongering.

        If it’s absolutely vital that you never break Sabbath under any circumstances, then choose accounting or banking instead of medicine.

        • Herald Andrew

          If that is so, you might want to revisit Jesus’ “working” on the countless Sabbaths roaming around healing the sick, restoring paralytics, and even making salves with mud and His own saliva to treat a blind man. As an individual healthcare professional, he/she can “work” on a Sabbath in the context of “helping people” not for his/her gain but for the benefit of their “neighbor”. Do you think taking exams on a Sabbath justifies “helping people” hands-on? I don’t think so. Just like Jesus, in numerous occasions where religious leaders tried to trap him with the same argument that you have, always reminded them the true essence of keeping the Sabbath holy. I recommend you read Luke 14:1-4 and answer the question that Jesus asked there. 🙂

          • taking the exam helps YOU, not others

            That’s a logical fallacy.

            If you need to be examined to be a physician to, say, work in missionary fields for little or no pay you could certainly choose to do that instead of being personally financially enriched working as a doctor.

            So if all entrance exams were held on Sabbath, then only non Sabbath-keeping people could ever become physicians and Sabbath-keepers would be relegated to non or semi-skilled professions?

            Plus, it’s arguable whether taking an entrance exam is even classified as a form of work or breaking Sabbath. Old-time Sabbath-keepers not too long ago wouldn’t drive to church or take a shower.

            Do you abide by that, yourself? What “rules” do you “bend?” And if you say, “none”, then how are you any better than legalistic Orthodox Jews?

          • Herald Andrew

            Let me comment on your points made here:

            1) “If you need to be examined to be a physician to, say, work in missionary fields for little or no pay you could certainly choose to do that instead of being personally financially enriched working as a doctor.”

            Yes, passing the examination would mean that you are given the eligibility to practice as a physician whether or not you be in missionary fields or in personally owned clinics. It’s not an issue. But can’t you be a “missionary” in your own way and at the same time survive by gaining enough through your profession?

            2) “So if all entrance exams were held on Sabbath, then only non Sabbath-keeping people could ever become physicians and Sabbath-keepers would be relegated to non or semi-skilled professions?”

            Well, in reality, that’s not the case. Not all exams are held on a Sabbath. You’re making your own problem there. But for the sake of having that argument, yes, there won’t be true Sabbath-keeping physicians then. Why? Because by biblical principle, we must “obey God rather than men”. Having said that, since Sabbath-keeping means to reunite with the Creator on that certain day by keeping it holy (that is, by ceasing from any secular and routine self-profit work/activities that can be usually done/postponed in any other day, except for services that warrant immediate and direct help to others), where does your loyalty stand? Exams are merely to assess if you qualify to be a doctor or not. Does doing that glorify God or serve the needs of others, or give due advantage to your career?

            3) “Plus, it’s arguable whether taking an entrance exam is even classified as a form of work or breaking Sabbath. Old-time Sabbath-keepers not too long ago wouldn’t drive to church or take a shower.”

            For the record, I am not and cannot be in any way in authority to strictly classify any activity as in line or a deviation regarding Sabbath-keeping.

            Yes, that’s certainly true that Sabbath-keepers practiced that before. Ever wonder why the “laxity” of that practice? That question is much more complicated to explain since it’s highly debated before. However, it all boils down to your loyalty (of your time, resources, efforts, intentions) to God on that day.

            4) “Do you abide by that, yourself? What “rules” do you “bend?” And if you say, “none”, then how are you any better than legalistic Orthodox Jews?”

            Is there any rule to bend, by the way? What “rules” are you talking about? Man’s “self-righteously” delineated policies and prohibitions or God’s rule found in Matthew 22:37-40? Any policy, regulation, prohibition should depend on whether you glorify and serve God in whatever you do, especially on the Sabbath. To quote you, “You need to understand that ours is a loving God and you won’t be “punished” by Him if you have to – out of necessity – work on Sabbath.” Out of necessity, yes, of course! Like I said, if doing “work” on a Sabbath is a NECESSITY for you to give immediate and direct help to people then why not? Besides, that’s the true essence of keeping the Sabbath holy. You are glorifying and serving God by helping those in need during that day. How? Read Matthew 25:40.

            These opinions that I have here don’t necessarily reflect the Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s Sabbath belief on its entirety. I am no expert on this topic but I know where my loyalty stands.

            I would recommend that you scrutinize the Seventh-day Adventist belief here on this webpage: https://www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/documents/article/go/-/sabbath-observance/

            I hope you find it helpful. Good day!

          • Wow. Too much runaround to address all, so I’ll pick this one:

            Any policy, regulation, prohibition should depend on whether you glorify
            and serve God in whatever you do, especially on the Sabbath.

            Again, do you “bend” any Sabbath-observance such as bathing (glorifies you, not God), drive to church (hard to glorify God at 45MPH when you have to observe the rules of the road and pay attention 100% to your surroundings, and spend commodities such as gas and oil, etc.) or any other extra-glorification activities?

            I actually suggest that *you* read that SDA link, yourself, and visit with an Adventist Pastor for further guidance.

            Are you a Sunday-keeper, BTW? Just curious.

          • Herald Andrew

            If “bending” means that way, you might as well not breathe on a Sabbath since you said it benefits you instead and not God or others. And that’s ridiculous. That’s what you are trying to say. You are trying to extremely isolate every move as allowable or not. So you mean to say Jesus violated the 4th commandment by walking around for miles on a Sabbath, allowing his disciples to pick grains along the road on a Sabbath, or even allowing the healed paralytic to carry his mat on a Sabbath? READ Matthew 12. Be practical, not too technical. I’m done reading the link and for your benefit, you should read it too. Your questions are answered there. Feel free to scrutinize it. It’s there. You can see where our Church stands. All you have to do is to be open-minded.

            I’m just wondering, would you rather take the exam on Sabbath, then? If so, what “rules” do you “bend”?

  • Sharon

    Amen!! God makes all things beautiful in His time! All we need to is to wait on the Lord. Praise be to God for your faithfulness & your testimony.

    Watch “The Maranatha! Singers – Wait On The Lord” on YouTube
    https://youtu.be/yxw4W1qwC4E

  • Janet Williams

    God is good! Thanks for sharing this faith building testimony. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17(NIV).

  • Steve Clark

    Splendid story, reminds me of the testimony of Eric Lidell, a scottish Christian Olympic runner and missionary who had to refuse to run on a sunday as they scheduled his event for sunday (different denomination of course) , became a great witness although under great pressure to relent but he remained faithful and went on to win gold in another event he swopped with a friend. God is faithful too as we are faithful !

  • Mutungi Joel

    Our God is faithful. Glory be to His name. I pray we trust Him more and more.

  • Carolina

    Thanks