Whenever you turn on the news you get reports on the latest disaster. At the time of writing this, that is Coronavirus and the news is full of stories about the latest death statistics, the latest actions government are asking people to take, or the actions taken against those who have not followed the government’s edicts.
There is also an expectation that this will pass and we are seeing pressure mounting to return to “normal.”
But is it right to expect this to happen? What will the future look like? And will “normal” be a return to the way things were or will there be a new “normal?”
It is often said that we can see a glimpse of the future by looking at the past and following the trends of what went before. When we look at the trends for disasters in the world over a long period of time, the picture does not present one that suggests a return to what has been considered normal.
The New Normal
The trends for disasters are ever increasing as you can see from the animation attached to this post. In all cases there have been an increase in the level and severity of disasters, both man-made and natural.
There can be no return to the old “normal” because disasters and crises are increasing at a rapid rate.
So the “new normal” is one where disasters and crises are the norm. We should not think that a disaster like COVID-19 is a once in a century occurrence, as some pundits in the news have stated. The last major pestilence attack was the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, but that does not mean it was the only pestilence disaster to have occurred.
Since that pandemic there have been nasty influenza outbreaks almost every year. Think about the last few years where we have had swine flu, avian flu, the SARS epidemic and now COVID-19. And these are just the few that come to mind as I write.
All of these caused death and were serious. In fact the annual flu virus each year kills tens of thousands of people around the world every year.
What the Bible tells us
The Bible is quite clear about these times that we live in.
Jesus was asked by his disciples what would be the signs of the end preceding His return. These were His words in response.
8 And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once." 10 Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:8-11)
We have seen all of these things come to fruit in the past several generations. We have had wars like never before (WW1 & WW2), and the rumours of wars (the Cold War, Cuban missile crisis, Bay of Pigs crisis and more). The extent of earthquakes and the growth in intensity, frequency and magnitude in the past fifty years is staggering. Famines have severely affected many parts of the world over the past several decades (Biafra, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and more). And we are at this time suffering another great pestilence the like of which hasn’t been seen in the past. (COVID-19, Spanish flu, SARS outbreak, Ebola virus, swine flu, avian flu and more).
Never have the signs of the imminent return of the Lord been clearer, and I should add that ALL (not just some) of these signs are continuing to escalate. Just consider again the chart attached to this post as evidence.
What should we do?
Again the Bible tells us what we need to do when we see these signs.
Does it tell us to become despondent? Does it tell us to panic and fall into despair? Does it tell us to become depressed and be filled with fear as the rest of the world does?
The Bible says the exact opposite. In fact these are the words Jesus said after speaking of the above signs to His disciples.
Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)
Jesus told us to “Look up!” Look up to Him, raise your heads and seek the Lord. Be filled with joy and not despair because He is coming and His redemption for those who are waiting patiently and in faith.
The Lord will keep His people and save them from the tribulations coming upon the world.
So be encouraged and do not fear. Seek Christ and be strong in the faith for these things are not an end, they are a beginning. The beginning of our life into eternity in the eternal kingdom of Christ.