Learning to live Yahweh’s way is a lifelong endeavor with many great and glorious benefits, both now and in the future (especially the future!). But it is not always an easy path to walk upon. Many believers have similar stories to tell about how they came to learn the truth. For quite a few, it happened while they were attending a mainstream church. Almost suddenly they realized that what their pastors were preaching simply wasn’t matching up to what the Bible really said. Others were handed literature proclaiming the truth, and after much prayer and study, accepted it. Some, seeking a deeper relationship with their Creator, prayed for knowledge and began reading their dusty Bibles often for the first time, and came to the knowledge of the truth unlike anything they were taught in their childhood Sunday school classes!
Learning the truth for the first time is exciting, but with that excitement can come feelings of loss, especially when those closest to you don’t accept the truth as you do. Some longtime believers have expressed how difficult it was to give up pagan holidays at first. They had spent most of their lives celebrating those days and creating rich family traditions. When they gave up participating in pagan practices, often they were shunned by family members and friends. People attempted to make them feel guilty by saying such things as, “Christmas is for the enjoyment of the children! Do you want your children to be deprived?” We often suffer in other ways too. Many believers have lost their jobs because of Sabbath-keeping. And those who don’t lose their jobs are often ostracized by co-workers for not participating in the office Christmas parties and the like.
Indeed, accepting the truth often comes with a price, unless your whole family is converted along with you, which is extremely rare. Believers must struggle with the simple truth that Yahweh is not calling all people at this time. It is painful to realize that those you love are blinded. Many of us have spent hours at a time trying in vain to convince our friends and family members of the truth. Sometimes there is alienation as the people you love no longer feel they have anything in common with you. They may feel resentment toward you and accuse you of trying to break up the “comfortable” family unit. One believer had the painful experience of rejection at her father’s funeral when one of her relatives got angry because she (the believer) did not believe that people go to heaven immediately when they die, but instead believed in the future resurrection.
The pain lessens over time as believers get used their new way of life, with or without the support of their friends and family members. Believers create new memories by keeping Yahweh’s feast days with other believers. Soon the memories of keeping Christmas and other pagan days fade, and instead are replaced by the real rejoicing that we know is pleasing to Yahweh. We get used to being thought of as being “different” by others. And it sometimes makes us a little glad that we are different. We know that being different now will yield incredible rewards in the future. So we continue to trudge along this lonely road waiting for the day we will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”