By Pastor Rachel Young

“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not; I Am the first and the last’,” Revelation 1: 17 ASV

Upon reading this scripture, I began to ponder John’s experience on the beach that day. Who can imagine such majesty, awe, and mercy?! In a moment of time, John had found himself looking into the face of his resurrected and glorified Savior. The effects were beyond his body’s ability to withstand and he fell to the ground as dead. I cannot imagine the thoughts that must have flashed through his mind as his body lost its strength and fell to the sand. And then nothing. He was gone, as if dead. There was no hope for John apart from the mercy of His Lord. And then, Christ touched him with His right hand and a surge of power pulsated through his body and awakened him to consciousness. Simultaneously, he heard the words of His loving Lord, “Fear Not; I Am the first and the last.’” Upon hearing those words, immediately John’s body and soul were filled with supernatural peace and vigor and he stood on his feet ready to follow the commands of His Lord. Oh, the power, mercy, and love that flow from Jesus! I love how James Hastings further describes John’s encounter:

“It is in the touch of His right hand, in the hearing of the voice of Jesus, in the steadfast regard of what Jesus is, of what Jesus has done, and in the apprehension of the place that Jesus fills, and of the power that Jesus wields, that St. John is to find the ground of his fearlessness and steadfast confidence. This is one of the common places of Christian experience. Not in ourselves, not in our attainments, not in our circumstances, not in anything that is ours, not even in any suffering, surrender, or sacrifice, can we find any sure ground of confidence or of deliverance. It is in Christ, and in Him alone, that peace and rest can be found.”

Twenty-six years ago, I too found myself as if dead with no hope apart from the mercy of Jesus. My situation was different than that of John’s in that it was of my own doing and by the means of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to my chest. As I lay on the ground on the New Orleans Lakefront, a breath away from death and eternal destruction, I was awakened to consciousness by a vision and immediately saw an arm reaching down from heaven. I didn’t know it was the arm of the Lord at the time, but without a moment’s hesitation I grabbed it. As I did, strength and peace were released into my body, I stood upon my feet and I was supernaturally led to rescue and put upon a path that would eventually lead me to Mary’s Song where I would come face to face with Jesus! When that wonderful day finally came and I felt His touch upon my heart and heard His beautiful voice, I knew it had been Him all along! In a moment of time all of my fears vanished and I was ready to follow the commands of my Lord! Every day since that day, through countless seasons of trial and triumph, it has been as it was in the beginning: His faithful touch and loving voice have been the source and strength of my life!

In Christ we have the victory! It is His touch alone that births, sustains, and completes our redemptive story! His mighty hands forever bear the marks of love and no enemy of our soul can withstand Him!! He is forever seeking to reveal Himself to His children! As we draw near, He revives, renews and equips us to fulfill His plan for our lives to bring glory to His name! He is the First and the Last, the Author, Sustainer, and Perfecter of life and all creation and He holds every moment of our lives in His mighty nail pierced hands!