02 October 2013

You Feel Alone, But Are You Really? (John's Story, Day 2)

Even if we have no external knowledge of Patmos, it's clear from the very start of book of Revelation that it was a punishment to be there, in a time and society where it was a crime to preach Jesus and to unflinchingly believe in the Bible.  That's how John ended up isolated on an island, suffering for his faith.

"I John, who am also your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."  Revelation 1:9

In one short verse, he tells us some incredibly important things:
  • "...who am also your brother..."--Christians, being adopted by God as their Father, always have a family.
  • "...and companion in tribulation..."--Christians, though they may suffer alone geographically, always have the company, in a sense, of other Christians who have suffered and do suffer and will suffer, for their faith.
  • "...in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ..."--Christians have patience because of the hope and assurance that Jesus indeed has a kingdom with a place in it for them, and will come again.
As if those words weren't sufficient encouragement for the downhearted, lonely sufferer, what happens next far surpasses them.  John goes on to describe how he was "in the spirit", maybe praying or thinking on passages of Scripture or the words of Jesus he remembered from those eventful three-and-a-half years, when quite unexpectedly there is a voice behind him.  
It sounds like a trumpet, and quite starteled, he turns to find seven golden lampstands, possibly like the one in the ancient temple, and in their midst One who shines brighter than the sun itself, with flaming eyes and even shining feet.  One with power enough to hold seven stars in His hand.
"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.  And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."  Revelation 1:18

Thus in this dreary place, where to all appearances John would remain alone, abandoned, and desolate, Jesus, in all His power and glory, was right there with him all the time.  It's the same Jesus John knew while He walked on the earth, yet he's flattened by awe in the presence of His power and purity--so much so that Jesus gives him the touch and words of reassurance before taking him in vision through what is perhaps the longest and most comprehensive vision of human history from start to glorious finish in Scripture.

I'm guessing that's not what John expected from his time on prison island.

Yet perhaps it was the perfect place for such an amazing message to be given to human beings.  John had all the time in the world, with no distractions.  He kept seeking the Lord in his aloneness, and was doing so when Jesus spoke behind him.  He had no deadlines to meet, and he had time to write out what he saw after this vision, which in the seeing of it must have taken several hours at least.  And by being alone there and being willing, the book he penned has blessed and encouraged millions of Christians the world over for nearly two thousand years.

When you're in a desert feeling alone, whether because of persecution or some other reason, still seek the Lord like John did.  You never know when you might discover His voice just behind you, or when His light will shine on your life and because of your deserted island place and your aloneness make your life mission more effective and far-reaching than you dreamed possible.

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Grab button for LADDER OF MERCY (Photo by Barbara Frohne)


  1. As I read your words, that sound so familiar as to what I have been going through and what I am learning. It is awesome to see the hand of God in my life as He brings into my life what I need- to better serve my purpose on this earth.
    I hope you have a blessed day~ Lisa :O)

  2. I want you to know that I am here reading as you post, letting the message sink in each day. I haven't thought of John on Patmos like this before. I am thankful for the strength that God is giving us to go on with trust in in His all sufficient grace, even with a fever yesterday and today.

  3. That's quite the picture -- ironically, the cactus leaf almost looks like a sea creature!


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