Rene Messier (Canada)
After we had such an inspiring and joy-filled Feast of Tabernacles, it does not take Satan long to start creating problems for and among the brethren. After all, he is the accuser of the brethren, an agitator and a provocateur, and he is like a vicious roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He discourages and causes problems for us in the hope we will fall short of the mark.
Some, returning from the Feast, had difficulty with flight delays and some had to stay in a hotel overnight due to flight interruptions. One couple came home to a flooded basement due to a water-valve failure.
I came home to find only two of my nine chickens were alive. Some wild animal killed seven of them while we were away, due to the failure of those who were supposed to take care and feed them according to my instructions.
So we can expect more trials and tests as we settle into the coming winter months, with shorter days and inclement weather in various parts of the country.
Trials and tests are part and parcel for those who are seeking to obey God, and we only need to read what Paul, an apostle of Christ, went through. He outlined and summarized his experience in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, which included beatings and being stoned, as well as the added stress of care for the brethren and church congregations.
In spite of all this, he never took his eyes off the reward and his crown which he would receive from Christ at His coming and at the end of the race. This is such an encouragement and example for us. As he endured and remained faithful to the end, so can we, since it is unlikely that we will have to experience all the trials that he went through.
There will be several long months until the Spring Holy Days, so let us ensure we stay close to God by not neglecting our responsibilities in our efforts to further the Work of preaching the Gospel to the world as a witness and never taking our eyes off the great reward that lies ahead.