Fear of Pestilence Word on the Week 29th February 2020.
The last time we blogged on the subject of fear it was along the Fermanagh-Cavan border in Ireland. There had been intimidation and the fear of man was evident. This week we have witnessed signs of fear of the coronavirus. It has gone almost global. No one has said it but this fear is the fear of the judgement of God.
The spread has been rapid. Antarctica being the only landmass not touched by it. Transmitting the virus is easily done so warnings against touching other people such as shaking hands raise the alarm bells in peoples’ minds. Pictures of medics ‘suited up’ from head to toe are on the one hand reassuring but on the other increase the apprehension.
On the face of it these seem to be excessive precautions for an illness which is likened to influenza. Many times this week the media have pointed out the low death rate of coronavirus and instanced the flu which has a much worse record. However, we have flu somewhat controlled, hence the annual flu jab prevention. With Covid-19 we do not know where it came from nor how long it will be with us.
The best guess blames the bat. There is also the association with the food market in Wuhan where it is reckoned to have made the transition from bat to man. Research is taking place to find an antidote but it is unlikely to be on the market soon. In the meantime, it would seem that what we have to fear is fear itself. It is irrational but the sense of the unknown makes people apprehensive.
There are a number of incidents in the Bible where God sent a plague or pestilence because of disobedience. Korah’s rebellion is one such case (Numbers Chapter 16 verses 46 to 48). These cases are largely directed at his people Israel. They had been entrusted with the oracles of God (Romans Chapter 3 verse 2) but that had not prevented them from sinning like others.
Jesus said that in the end times there would be “pestilence” (St Luke Chapter 21 verse 10 to 12). This is one of the indicators of the end of the age. Trusting in Christ for your salvation in this life and the next does not enable you to bypass these things. It does however, give you the assurance of Psalm 91 which may have been in John Ryland’s mind when he penned these words: –
“Plagues and deaths around me fly;
Till he bids, I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.”
May these thoughts strengthen you as we contemplate a dysfunctional world.