A Test Of Faithfulness
Zareh’s heart sank when he saw the posted test schedule. The exams would start at 8:00 Sabbath morning and last five days.
Zareh was an excellent student. He had earned top grades in the small Adventist school he attended. But that didn’t matter.
In Zareh’s homeland every student finishing the fifth grade had to take a government examination before he could go on with his education. Government leaders set the time and place in each city. No one was excused. It made no difference whether a student went to public school or to private school. He had to take the exam as scheduled.
Zareh and his family prayed. Then they talked with government officials. They did everything they could to get the time changed.
The officials recognized Zareh’s father. He had been on television many times with an outstanding health program. “Yes, yes,” the officials said. “We will do something for your son.” But nothing happened.
Early Thursday morning Zareh’s parents and the principal of the Adventist school went again to the government office, still hoping for a change of time. This was their last chance. The office would close that day at 2:00 and would be closed all day Friday.
As they waited, people gathered around them and scolded. “You’re fanatics.” “You are committing a big crime.” “Zareh has to take the test Saturday morning.”
Two o’clock came. The office closed. And they had not received an answer.
“Son, you will lose one year of school,” his father said with sadness in his voice.
Zareh’s mother wept. “Why, God? Why must our son who has worked so hard repeat all the work again? Next year it might be the same thing!”
But Zareh made his decision. “I will repeat my whole year of schoolwork rather than take the examination on Sabbath,” he said.
ONE LAST LOOK
Saturday morning, when most of the young people in their city went to take the exam, Zareh and his four church school friends were in Sabbath school. Zareh had prayed much in the last week, and apparently God had not answered Yes to his prayers. The time of the test had not been changed.
The principal of the school whispered to Zareh’s father in Sabbath school. “Let’s go once more,” he said. “Maybe there is a letter excusing Zareh and giving him a new time to take the test.” But how could that be? The government office closed Thursday afternoon. Still—who knew? The two men went, though they had little hope of finding the hoped-for letter. Zareh, his mother, and younger brother stayed at Sabbath school.
At 12:30 the men returned, their faces all smiles. “We got the letter!” Sure enough. Though the office was closed, the letter had been written on Friday. The letter stated that because the roof on the building where the test was to be given had come down, the starting time was postponed until Sunday, and the test would be given in another city. No one could explain why the roof came down, but Zareh and his family felt they knew the reason.
Zareh’s troubles were not over. Driving 40 miles to the other city meant leaving home every morning before 6:00 and not returning until after 6:00 p.m. Also, most of the people competing with him were adults. Worse, some people were caught cheating, causing angry officials to change the test, making it more difficult. Zareh prayed much, for he was worried.
But God was able. When the final results were announced, Zareh’s scores topped everyone’s. Like Daniel in the Bible, his faith had stood the test. God had honored his faithfulness.
Jeanne Larson and Ruth McLin