September 7, 2020, marked the beginning of a journey with 13 of my colleagues exploring fundamental biblical truths as believed and taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. All of them had decided to commit more deeply to serving God, His people, and the larger community.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in India has made a provision for employees who have not received a formal education in the areas of Bible, history, and theology from a Seventh-day Adventist perspective to do so before they serve the church. This “enrichment program” is designed to educate people regarding the beliefs and heritage of the Adventist Church, and to inspire them to integrate Christian values into their lives as they serve. I was privileged to teach one of the classes this year.
On my first day of classes I asked my students a vital question: “What do you believe? And why do you believe so?” I invited them to write down their answers somewhere as we would refer back to them later. At first there was silence. Then the brave ones voiced their opinions. We listened to a variety of responses.
We noticed that many of our beliefs have been shaped by people in authority. We often struggle to recognize what has shaped our core convictions. I told my students that for the next four weeks we would study many wonderful things about God, but all this would make sense only if we believed. Faith and belief in God lie at the very core of Christianity. Our faith in God and His living Word instills love, ignites hope, and gives strength in difficult times. Faith enables us to recognize the glory of God. Just as Jesus told Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40), I urged my colleagues to believe because they themselves had seen God’s blessings and experienced them firsthand. We decided to endeavor to have a personal walk with Jesus, to seek Him wholeheartedly, and to desire to behold His glory.
The next four weeks were spent in rigorous study of the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I recognized the huge task before me and spent more time sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him, praying for wisdom every step of the way. This class was about more than just informing the mind. I wanted to give my students a glimpse of eternity and help them see the possibility of a joyous life in a personal relationship with Christ.
On the last day of class we revisited the two questions I had started with: “What do you believe? And why do you believe so?” I appreciated the answers that were shared with the class. Some of my colleagues had worked in various schools and companies outside the church. I was blessed to see their desire to observe the Sabbath, their dedication and commit- ment to selfless service.
As we ended our class, I shared some good advice from one of my professors at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies: “Courage.” I urged them to take heart and continue serving God to the best of their abilities despite the challenges they faced. As nursing professors, administrative assistants, maintenance supervisors, and accountants they would all have their fair share of challenges. But I reminded them to remain faithful to the very end, because our reward is with our righteous judge, our God and Saviour.
As we face an uncertain future and the end of time, our faith, too, will be tested. Our only strength will be in God. Faith enables us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and courage helps us endure the night.