Perilous Times Primer #36

Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass … For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Matthew 24:4–8 (emphasis added)

The Earth in Travail

When we say, “The Earth is in travail,” most people who are cognizant of current events would agree. However, if we say, “The Earth is entering birth pangs,” the perspective changes—at least for those who know Scripture. The “Earth in travail” perspective can be frightening. The “Earth in birth pangs” perspective is one of eager expectation. The word translated “sorrows” in the above quote means “labor pains.” The Earth in labor means the dawning of a new creation is near.

The Chinese Coronavirus panic has terrified many. Good will come from this, as many complacent souls will begin to consider their own mortality. Some will be humbled, and as a result will respond to the Gospel message. Many complacent believers will be challenged to reorient their lives to God’s Word and His plan for their lives. There is much good that will come out of current events.

We Are All Going to Die!

For many, it is suddenly becoming evident that humanity has a 100% mortality rate. We are all going to die … someday. And now it may be by the grace of God that many will begin to consider the ultimate question of life: “Where will you spend eternity?”

Whatever may come in the days ahead, we who know Jesus Christ ought to be preparing and praying to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God, to “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear [reverence](1 Pet. 3:15). It is almost certain that no one will ask you that question unless they see in you a hope and confidence that conveys rock-solid assurance in the plan and promises of God.

Deaths Mounting Daily

I am amazed and amused at the fear being displayed by many people. While I recognize this pandemic to be a serious danger, it is no more dangerous now than the world was before it came. Consider the following:

This figure for Wuhan virus deaths is as of March 16. Add to this that in the U.S., the 2018–19 flu season killed 34,200. Automobile accidents in 2019 took 33,654 lives—not to mention that abortion worldwide takes an infant’s life every second. I think you can see that there are dangers everywhere, and we still live our lives without panicking.

The Fear that Delivers

 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:28–31

I have no doubt that Jesus must have had a smile on His face when He said, “You are of more value than many sparrows.” This was no doubt a vast understatement. Our value to God was such that He devised the plan of redemption and sent His uniquely born Son into this world to bear our sins and to set us free.

In the midst of this pandemic, I repeat Jesus’ message: “Do not fear … you are of great value to the heavenly Father.”

Lessons Worth Learning

This crisis will either be one of the greatest learning times of our lives, or we will waste it. If our first concern is for the souls of those around us, we are going to win big. If our first concern is the economy, we are going to lose big. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

There are valuable lessons to be learned if we are attentive. There will be opportunities for growth for all of us. Also, opportunities to separate the trivial from the treasure all around us. My philosophy of life for many decades has been, “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst, be ready for anything.”

We simply do not know where this will lead. If I fear anything, it is that government tends to never let a crisis go to waste, and usually makes use of events like this to rob the people of freedom and property. We cannot know what events are taking place behind the scenes, but I would suggest they are much more significant than the Coronavirus!

Ever since Donald Trump was elected, we have been in an intense battle for liberty and the restoration of America to a semblance of what our Founding Fathers envisioned. It is my conviction that this battle is going to be won or lost in the near future.

We who are members of the Family of God—and as royal priests—should be utilizing the power of prevailing prayer as never before. I urge you to pray for our nation, following the example of Daniel (Daniel 9). Never doubt the promise God made in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Now is the time to prove this promise in our lives and in our land. Don’t be a spectator—be in the fight! Jesus Christ is coming soon; there is no time to waste. May His grace and power and truth strengthen and sustain us all to play well the part we have been given in the unfolding drama of life.

“Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” 2 Samuel 10:12

From “the secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1),

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