In his later years, the faithful disciple John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos (see Revelation 1).
This was in effect a punishment of solitary confinement. John had no human contact on Patmos except with his jailers. It was a time of extreme cold, hunger and excruciating isolation for this elderly servant. Yet in the midst of his trial John had a powerful vision of the Lord.
“When I saw [Christ], I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid: I am the First and the Last. I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:17-18).
Today I try to imagine being in John’s situation. It had to have been a time of great confusion and questioning, even for this godly man. In fact, I believe things could not have been worse for John. Yet the first words Jesus said to his anguished servant were, “Do not be afraid.”
Even the apostle Paul knew this kind of desperate isolation. Yet in the midst of his own trials, Paul had a vision of Jesus standing beside him, and he was able to declare in the midst of his persecution, “All forsook me. . . . But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:16-17).
For John and Paul, life’s circumstances could not have been darker. Yet each of these men testified of seeing Jesus in their trials. Now, dear Christian, I have a question for you: Do you see Jesus in your present situation?
Jesus is with you and you can say with confidence and authority, “Christ stands with me. He is giving me strength despite my circumstances.”