What picture comes to mind when you think of an island? Mine is of a plush and gorgeous spot of land, in the middle of water where plants and fruits grow in abundance. In my mind’s eye, every time I picture an island, it’s the closest thing to paradise I can imagine.
When I read Revelation and the fact that John the disciple was exiled to Patmos as punishment for preaching Jesus, I thought that isn’t such a bad punishment. I was wrong. While further studying Patmos I discovered it was a barren island that was incapable of producing anything but rocks. No greenery, no delectable fruits and veggies, no trees even. Just caves and rocks. Prisoners were sent there to mine the caves. It was a place no one wanted to be. The Bible doesn’t mention anything about anyone else being there but John so imagine with me, if the island was truly barren with no shade, nothing to eat or enjoy and on top of that, being there completely alone how it must have felt. Patmos actually means the title of this blog, “my killing”.
It’s not a stretch to some to imagine a place like this. It’s not hard to remember a time feeling completely isolated and alone with no sign or site of any kind of relief. Some are there right now. In a split second, one’s life can change forever and our normal flies right out the window. Devastation has come to live and sometimes we feel we can’t recover or worse, we don’t want to.
Out of the darkest, loneliest and most barren times in life, God can produce something amazing. If we tune in to him and tune out our feelings and how we perceive the place or the situation, it’s possible for Him to produce in us many things. Faith can grow when nothing else can. Trust can flourish and begin to color the blandness of an ugly reality. The mind and heart can be forever changed when they know the God of our lives.
John could have spent his time mulling over every wrong done to him and how unfair it was for him to be a prisoner to start with, let alone exiled on an island no one wanted to be on but he didn’t. Instead he chose to still – after all he had been through – look for and listen to God. I imagine he rattled the stillness of that place by singing to Jesus at the top of his lungs. From his faithfulness and steadfast heart, God gave John the most amazing gift – the Revelation.
We can receive beautiful things, comforting words, strength, joy, peace and a growing faithfulness from God during our darkest times. Stay close to the Father and keep staying close.