In 2017-2018, estimates were about 48.8 million illnesses, 959,000 hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths with seasonal flu. Accurate estimates on flu deaths are difficult to pinpoint because many inflicted had multiple health issues going on as well. With the coronavirus, it is also difficult to pin down exact numbers of mortality because again, many who have become seriously ill also had other health issues going on as well. But one thing for sure is that it causes us to look at the possibility of our own mortality. For those who trust in Christ we have no reason to fear physical death, but at the same time remember that Jesus said in Luke 4:12, “You must not test the Lord your God.” God gave us the means to limit the infections of COVID so it is still wise to follow the basic precautions to keep from becoming ill.
The Bible mentions “pestilence,” meaning “plagues” quite often when referring to the end times. God is calling us to Himself by peoples’ own fears and concerns during these testing times. Jesus often referred to the end times as being “birth pangs.” Just as a woman’s labor pains become stronger as the birth approches, God often allows escalation in trials of all kinds to urge men to come to Christ.
Even the Tribulation itself will bring pressure upon mankind to surrender their hearts to Jesus and find salvation. Luke 21:7-9 KJV tells us, “And they asked Him, saying, ‘Master, but when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?’ And He said, ‘Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ;’ and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them......But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.’”
And Matthew 24:4-7 further describes the happenings as we near the end: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you......For many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.’”
The Lord encourages us in a number of ways. Pray for discernment so we aren’t deceived or surprised. Fear not and don’t panic. Be patient and witness to the lost at every opportunity because the “fields are white unto harvest.”
If we follow His advice He will help us get through these difficult days.
Ole Country Church, Medford, Wis.