Throughout scripture, the greatest revelations of God’s goodness came to people in their times of trouble, calamity, isolation and hardship. We find an example of this in the life of John. For three years, this disciple was “in Jesus’ bosom.” It was a time of rest, peace and joy with few troubles or trials. He knew Jesus only as the Son of Man. So when did he receive his revelation of Christ in all his glory?
It happened only after John was dragged from Ephesus in chains. He was exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he was sentenced to hard labor. He had no fellowship, family or friends to comfort him. It must have been a time of utter despair, the lowest point in his life.
That’s when John received the revelation of his Lord that would become the final element of scripture: the Book of Revelation. In the midst of that dark hour, the light of the Holy Ghost came to him, and John saw Jesus as he’d never seen him before. He literally saw Christ as the Son of God.
John did not receive this revelation during Jesus’ days on earth or even while he was working alongside the other apostles. No, it was in his darkest hour that John saw Christ in all his glory. This incredible revelation put John on his face, but Jesus put his hand on John and reassured him, declaring, “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, NKJV).
I believe this revelation comes to every praying, hurting servant in his or her time of need. The Holy Spirit says, “Jesus holds all the keys to life and death, so everyone’s departure rests in his hands.” This revelation is meant to bring peace to our hearts. Like John, we are to envision Jesus standing before us, holding the keys to life and death, assuring us, “Don’t be afraid. I hold all the keys.”
What is our response to be? Like Job, we are to say in faith, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).