I’m not much of a historian or even one for reading and enjoying historical accounts, but recently I’ve been drawn to the story of John the Revelator and his Isle of Patmos experience. Who is that? I think I can hear many of you asking. Well, you know the books of the Bible? Well, John the Revelator was inspired to write the book of Revelation whilst being banished to the Isle of Patmos which historical accounts say was quite a horrible place!
John was a follower of Jesus Christ and he would talk to all who would listen to the Man Christ Jesus. Well, the ‘powers that be’ of that day were tired of hearing him and some say he was touching a nerve with them or in fact, was pricking at their consciences. So much so that they banished him to this deserted place hoping that he would be suffering so much he would forget about his faith and shut up!
Well! He did not forget! In fact, he was so ‘in the Spirit’ that he was inspired and had Revelations of things to come! He was so amazed at what he ‘saw’ and ‘heard’ that he decided to write it down so it is there for us now to see and read for ourselves! Isn’t that amazing! You can read Revelation to see what he was inspired to write. It is heavy reading and you will definitely need help in interpreting some of what you read. Some who have read Revelation say it is quite scary but I think it is so full of imagery that John must have been awestruck when he saw these things. But what an inspiration! Think about it. What would come to your mind to do if this were you? I mean, for some people they’d want to drown their sorrow with some booze or drugs (whichever is available!). Perhaps others would while away their time crying, some would seek to get the most eloquent lawyer to argue their case, some would sulk and slip into deep depression and others would use their time to actively plot their revenge on the powers that be.
What would you do? What would I do? I really don’t know but I’d love to think that my faith would keep me strong. That I would remember what I believe in. That I should not lose hope. But would I have the presence of mind to forget my suffering and think about writing about my situation? Would I think that others might learn something from my experience? Or would I side with those who had banished me and ask to be forgiven and promise not to express my faith again? Lots to think about. Isn’t it?
There are other awe-inspiring stories of others who faced adversity and didn’t let it stop them doing good. I’m reminded as well of Jesus Himself when He was about to be killed. Was He feeling sorry for Himself and bemoaning His fate? No! He was thinking of others, even those who had done wickedness all their lives. You can read that account of what was on Jesus’ mind when he was about to be murdered in the Gospels in the Bible. Reminds me of a well-loved song: When He was on the cross that day, you and I were on His mind.
So what will you do next time you are having your Patmos experience? Will you give up what you stand for? Will you turn that negative experience into a positive, that lemon into lemonade? One thing you can do beforehand is to make up your mind about how you will handle negative situations. Keep in mind some quotes (from the Bible or elsewhere) that will help you to keep strong whilst you endure. Don’t be caught off guard. Don’t let anything shatter your faith, no matter what! And you know what? Feel free to share your Patmos experience with us. Who knows, in time to come this might just be what inspire others to also endure and rejoice as they go through their own Patmos experience.