At night I often hear a calm, familiar voice beckoning me from the sea below, but when I creep from my cave and peer downward onto the moonlit rocks, I see no one. My aged eyes can barely distinguish the craggy shoreline from the rushing water during the day, much less at night. But I know if He is there I will see His radiance piercing the darkness. So I look, I always look.
During the day I sometimes mistake the faces of my fellow prisoners for those of my slain brethren. Briefly, my heart leaps, but I know not to call out to them. I know it is only the mind of an old man, and perhaps his heart, that is yearning, longing, hoping. I am the last of those chosen by my Master. For many years I have been the last. I know not why.
On this island, my place of exile, I am surrounded by rock. I sleep within it. I lay my head upon it. I etch crosses and scripture into it. I bend my bare and faulty knees to it and pray. This island is both hell and paradise. For it will always be a prison of Roman making, but yet, the sturdy ground, the dancing sea, the whispering wind, and the boundless stars beneath Heaven are of my Lord's making. And that comforts me.
West of my cave here on Patmos is a wall of rock that stands against the crashing Aegean Sea. I look upon it and smile. It reminds me of Simon Peter.
"Oh Lord, how Peter became that Rock You desired!"
Immovable, resolute, steadfast in the faith became Simon Peter. I think back to that day long ago when Peter and I stood before the vicious Sanhedrin. Waves of insults and threats crashed down upon us, but Peter denied nothing. He proclaimed the Messiah to those hypocrites. He spoke without fear. Peter took the truth to the temple, to Jerusalem, and then to hostile, distant lands.
"Oh Lord, he proclaimed You until he was called to be with You."
From my cave a trail climbs up the mountain. It takes a considerable amount of time for this worn, earthly vessel to reach the peak. I withdraw there not to be alone, but to be with my Lord. That trail leading to the summit reminds me of Andrew.
"Oh Lord, how Andrew loved to bring others to You."
I remember Andrew bringing his own brother, Peter, to Jesus. It was as if Andrew knew his boisterous sibling would be vital to the Lord's kingdom. Quiet, humble Andrew brought both Jews and Gentiles, often by the hand. I remember like yesterday my Lord feeding the giant multitude by the sea. When everyone doubted, Andrew simply led to Jesus a boy carrying two fish and a few barley loaves. Through Andrew our Lord fed thousands.
"Oh Lord, that trail is my Andrew because it leads me to You."
I often stay in His presence on that peak until sunset. And then, before His created light dips beneath the waters, I think of my brother. The sinking sun and its twin reflection remind me of James and myself. So alike we were. We burned with passion to follow our Lord and naively we yearned to be first in His kingdom.
But then we learned. We learned to be mirrors of His truth, His grace, His glory, and to reflect His light into the darkness. James, my good brother, was the first after our Lord whose earthly body was broken. It took a Roman blade to silence the gospel trumpeting forth from his mouth.
"Oh Lord, how quickly You must have embraced James' glorified body!"
I miss my brother. I miss all my brothers in Christ. I cling to memories while yearning for my time in the land of my Lord. So I wait, and I wonder for what purpose I am still here.
"Oh Lord, it is I, John whom you loved. Lord, I long to do Your will. If my purpose on this earth be done, take me. Let me break bread with You and my brothers once again. I long to laugh and cry and fellowship with those I loved so dearly."
"Lord, if You require more of me in this realm, use me. Reveal Your will. Impart my purpose. Send a revelation Lord."
"Oh Lord, my body grows weak but the Holy Spirit within pulsates like joyous thunder. I am forever your humble servant. Amen."
Jason Swiney is a Christian, husband, father and educator who lives and writes in NE Georgia (lettingitflow.com). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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