June 28, 2017
Remember that John was in the Isle of Patmos, a lone, rocky, inhospitable prison, for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. And yet to him, under such circumstances, separated from all the loved ones of Ephesus; debarred from the worship of the Church; condemned to the companionship of uncongenial fellow-captives, were vouchsafed these visions. For him, also a door was opened.
We are reminded of Jacob, exiled from his father’s house, who laid himself down in a desert place to sleep, and in his dreams beheld a ladder which united Heaven with earth, and at the top stood God.
Not to these only, but to many more, doors have been opened into Heaven, when, so far as the world was concerned, it seemed as though their circumstances were altogether unlikely for such revelations. To prisoners and captives; to constant sufferers, bound by iron chains of pain to sick couches; to the brokenhearted; to lonely pilgrims and wanderers; how often has the door been opened to Heaven.
But there are conditions. You must know what it is to be in the Spirit; you must be pure in heart and obedient in faith; you must be willing to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ; then when God is all in all to us, when we live, move and have our being in His favor, to us also will the door be opened.
My beliefs about how my life would turn out were pleasant but false. I was forced to recognize that I was clinging to a pretense.
We often build pretenses for how our Christian lives should appear: ideas we imagine should govern our lives, rights we perceive we have. Yet our pretenses often lack the foundation that God has His own plans for our lives.
We long for a path free from pain and barriers, but God doesn’t always follow the easy trail. Fortunately, when we are crushed and brokenhearted—even from our own pretenses—we know that the brokenness doesn’t separate us from God. It draws us nearer to Him.
Psalm 34 meets us in our affliction: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.… The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” (>Psa 34:18–19, 22).
Scripture promises that our pretenses will be surpassed by God’s far greater purpose for our lives. Romans 9:33 assures, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Whatever it is that has disillusioned you, believe confidently that God has not squandered His plan for you; He will redeem your pain. Take refuge in Him, as the psalmist proclaims, knowing that His plan eclipses your own. When you finally sit with Him face to face, you will not be disappointed.