Someone retorted to me some time ago: “‘You have suffered so much.” I said, “how?” He pointed out the fact that I had been given very “tough assignments” and that I had “met a lot of challenges”. But he equally noted that I appeared to have gone through them coming out better, stronger and more joyful too in spite of these afflictions. The record of the works accomplished during those times, he maintained, spoke for themselves. I nodded with a deep sense of humility and satisfaction, giving God the glory. The one who raised the question appeared to have answered it also. When one tastes the joy of encountering the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, one will be able to ” do great things for God and for the salvation of souls” joyfully, and in all circumstances (Acts 13:52, Acts 14:22). The source of the joy of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to master our challenges is rooted in our attachment to the Vine, Jesus Christ the Lord and the bringer of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). Our connectedness to Him will enable us to bear fruit even amidst persecutions and vicissitudes of life. The enemy is at work to ensure that through various ” scandals” to the faith, the “door of faith”[ which works through Love (Galatians 5:6)] opened to the gentiles (Acts 14:27) is obliterated so that the love in most men’s heart would grow cold. That is the target of the enemy.

Patient endurance, however, is our defence as we abide in Him and bear the fruit of good works by walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31). Even though tribulations, death, hatred, betrayal, apostasy, the advent of false prophets and the multiplication of evils of various kinds will be the order of the day, they that persevere in doing good till the end will be saved (c.f. Matthew 24: 9-14).

Therefore, let us appreciate the truth that the noble act of “going about and doing good like our master Jesus, the true Vine of which we are only branches (Acts 10:37-38) is “our portion”. Let us realize that seeking to enhance the quality of life of our neighbour is our “cross of love” as (Galatians 6:2). Let us endeavour not to be distracted in this divine quest in spite of the various evils surrounding us, as we strive to be faithful and fruitful branches of the Vine, Our Lord Jesus Christ.