The Coronavirus is causing widespread fear and havoc worldwide; airlines, the travel industry, the stock market, the oil market, businesses, country-wide quarantines, hospitals overflowing, mounting death figures, etc. We are bombarded with words like epidemic, pandemic, contagion. In the Bible, the choice of words is plague and pestilence. Pestilence means a deadly and overwhelming disease that affects an entire community.
Jesus And Pandemics
In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke of the end times and foretold that there would be a list of signs including religious deception, war, famine, natural disasters and “pestilences” or disease epidemics (Matthew 24:7).
“Pestilences” is also associated with one of the Four Horseman in the book of Revelation.
By the time the fourth horseman completes his ride, a fourth of earth’s inhabitants will experience devastation. The death toll will be unlike any from plague and disease in human history.
Pestilence can mean any sudden fatal epidemic and it generally connects to a divine visitation.
Scary? For many, very much so! For followers of Christ, not so. We have forewarning of things to come. Whether we are ready is another matter.
David And Pandemics
There are comforting words in the Bible for those who believe.
Psalm 91 bears a beautiful working title. It is referred to as “Being In The Shadow Of The Almighty!”
In verses 2-6, King David writes: “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in
whom I trust. For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from
the deadly pestilence.
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your
shield and rampart. “You will not fear the terror of night…nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”
In times like these, it is necessary to meditate on verses like these. Psalm 23 is another comforting Psalm. You might call it God’s psychiatry or God’s promises to you when you pass through life’s darkest valleys.
Beyond a doubt, the current Covid- 19 pandemic is a wake-up call for everyone, everywhere. But it is not the grand finale of God’s condemnation of the world, not yet.
John spells out God’s immediate agenda for the world in his Gospel: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (3:17).
Some 3,000 years earlier, King David penned those same thoughts in Psalm 103. “Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit.”
As a child of God, we may fall sick, but even in sickness He comes to us as our healer, writes King David.
The coronavirus pandemic will pass in time. But, how will we react while it is with us?
Message From Wuhan, China
Here is a message that I read from a pastor in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the pandemic. He writes:
“Brothers and sisters, be strong in Christ’s love. Even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father. With so many millions facing this pestilence, can it be outside God’s will?
“Please ask the Lord to use this pestilence for His glory, so that when it is over, there will be many more souls born again into the kingdom of God than have perished.
“Please intercede, asking our wonderful Savior to bring peace and healing to those who are afflicted with the illness, to provide supernatural strength and protection for the medical personnel struggling on the front lines!
“Please pray for the peace of Christ to rule and reign in our hearts, so that we may be a witness to those who are without hope. “Pray that through this hardship, God’s children will grow nearer to the Almighty, and that the Lord will use it to purify our souls and give us many opportunities to proclaim the gospel.”
May we be of the same mind to use this pestilence for His glory, so that when it is over, there will be many more souls born again into the kingdom of God than have perished.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.