We are in an unprecedented situation. COVID-19 is not the first pandemic (or plague as they used to call them), it’s not the worst virus, but it is a bad one, and the response has been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. All over the world things are shutting down, and people are staying home… after selling all their stock and spending the money panic buying toilet paper and pasta #makessense?
The media is forecasting doom and gloom. Theories and reports of uncertain credibility are being shared around social media. All kinds of numbers are being thrown around. Numbers of confirmed cases, deaths, how long we’ll be stuck at home, how far the market will drop, and so on.
These are frightening times… even for Christians who’ve been expecting this kind of thing to happen as the return of Jesus draws near. But notice what Jesus said in the context of the signs of His coming,
“…you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled [in other words, don’t panic!]; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences [pandemics], and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24:5-8
Jesus gives us two reasons for being hopeful and unafraid in these troubled last days. First, these troubles do not signal the immediate end of the world. Jesus said we would see these things, but that the world wouldn’t end yet. The time for alarm is signaled by more specific prophetic events that have not yet occurred (see vs. 15-20). Second, these troubles are the beginning of birth pains. These troubles signal that something wonderful is coming! The old age is coming to an end, a new age is coming, and Jesus will be the one to usher it in (see vs. 3).
Don’t panic! Now is the time to let the hope of eternal life and the love of God fill our hearts so that we can share them with this fearful and troubled world.
Blessings and hope,