It took me 4 years to learn what the Sabbath personally means to me. Rewinding to the beginning of 2016, something life-changing was supposed to happen. In February, I applied at Andrews University. The secret desire to study there had always been there but I just thought, I’m not smart enough for that school. I finally found the courage to do so. After many weeks of waiting, as I sat in my office, there it was:
“Dear Miss Linda Elizabeth Machemedza, Congratulations for your acceptance at Andrews University in the fall semester 2016. With your acceptance, you have been awarded $7000 from the Andrews Partnership Scholarship for the duration of your course (4 years) annually.”
Oh the excitement! I thought finally my big break was here, I was going to Michigan in August! Little did I know that humongous things were about to happen in my life. Following that, I got robbed in the office (for the second time this year), stopped working, stopped studying because of financial issues, things just went down hill but when I thought of what I was looking forward to it gave me hope. The scholarship that I was awarded covered only part of my tuition, I had to look for another scholarship to bridge the gap. I thought it would not be so hard because “If America could give me half of my fees, who can say no to bridging the rest?” I was so wrong! I started visiting places, asking about financial aid. I sent more than 200 emails to potential bursary departments all to no avail. I was using every cent I had because I just had hoped that I was going to get it. I even started checking for flights to come to the United States. I was so sure that when I got that scholarship on Thursday, August 11, I’d get on the Lufthansa flight. I’d stop at Dubai, UAE then Heathrow, London then all the way to Detroit. But things did not even come close to that. In May, my mum lost her job, things did not look bright at all, my book sales came to a standstill, my life just took a sharp turn for the worst and came to a screeching halt. No responses, no hope whatsoever. This whole time I was praying so hard, fighting with God that I really had to go to school and He had to provide the scholarship. It was July when my mum got sick. She had chronic problems with her feet but no things got worse. It was at this point that I had to accept that I was not going to Andrews this year. My heart ached so much, it was difficult to sleep. I would stay up till 2am, take a nap and get back up at 5am. Most of my winter sickness was worsened by stress and lack of nutrition because I hardly ate anything. Some days I would go 2 days without eating, without leaving my bed and pillows soaked in tears. How could God allow all this to fall upon me? Is it not enough that I come from a broken family? Can’t I just get one shot at making life better for my mum who has struggled so much to put me through school? What is this that I’ve done to God so much that He doesn’t want to listen to me? Such questions buzzed my head so much I’m sure that’s what worsened the intensity and frequency of my migraines.
It was at this point that Sabbath then started to make more sense to me than ever before. The way I was so drained and sick, the Sabbath became my day of healing. Each moment of music service seemed to touch all the broken chords in my heart and make them whole. Especially of significance to me was the song “My Maker and My King.” It has become my anthem every morning. The Sabbath day proved to be a day when I to meet face-to-face with the God of my life and lay aside any troubling thoughts. I have come to a place now in my life that being late for church is not an option because I never want to miss anything God might say to me during the service. Every sermon has become a revival moment for my weary and aching soul. I could quote Psalm 27:13-14 as my reality.
“I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
This verse is brightly highlighted in my Bible because on the Sabbath I have learned to wait on the Lord and gain enough courage to face life’s dark times. The communion I have with my Lord gives me the heart to soldier on. On Sabbath, Jesus recharges my spirit, He brings everything else to a halt just to speak to me. Not only does He do this in sermons and songs, but also through my the brothers and sisters in the congregation. When the Sabbath comes each week, with a smile I say, “Lord let your presence fall,” because I know that only in his presence can I be sustained. For me, the Sabbath means rest for my mind and my soul.