Are you on an island?
Has life caused you to be isolated?
Is there an aloneness that is tangible in your heart?
Pain and suffering, change, betrayal, loss….
John was on an island. He was exiled to the island of Patmos. Christians were going through a time of persecution and those who held that Christ, not Caesar, was Lord, were facing hostility. John was sent to Patmos as punishment for his faith.
In his exile, God showed up.
His eyes were opened to the realm of the supernatural, of things to come. Imprisoned on an island, away from the people and places that he loved, the Lord of the future overwhelmingly revealed Himself and His plan to John.
The book of Revelation is so stunning that it takes my breath away at times! The things written in this book, so distinct and curious, are a taste of the judgment and the wonder to come. John was overcome. He says, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!'”
There was a point in my chemo journey when I realized that I was an exile like John. On a much smaller scale, mind you, but I felt it nonetheless. Because of the winter season, wanting to stay away from germs, and because of feeling bad physically, I was home most of the time over the course of a few months. I was home, and I was bald. While I was grateful for a warm home, it felt like the walls were closing in on me at times.
God opened my eyes to my island.
What I did with my time came into sharper focus and I longed to be closer to God.
I determined that I didn’t want to waste my exile.
Sowing aloneness can reap growth. Sowing aloneness can also reap self-pity, discouragement, resentment….
What I set my mind and heart on determines what I sow. I know because I have sown both.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on this earth,” God’s Word says in Colossians 3:2.
I have found that in exile, determination to follow truth and to follow hard after God take discipline. It takes a “setting” of the mind. Your mind and heart will be pulled away if you don’t.
“So let us come near to God with an honest and true heart. Let us come near with a faith that is sure and strong….” Hebrews 10:22
My prayer for you is that you will draw near to God in your exile, and there He will share with you His amazing love and His undeniable truth.
– Susie Stewart
(photo of the island of Patmos courtesy of bibleplaces.com)