“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes and pestilences in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6-8) (Luke 21:9-11)
History has a way of repeating itself. What God has said and done and permitted in the past is what He will say and do and permit in the future. God does not change. He is perfectly consistent in everything He says and does in both Testaments. (Malachi 3:6) (Numbers 23:19) (James 1:17) Added to this His word does not change. (Isaiah 40:8) No matter what the future holds His word will say the same thing tomorrow as it does today because His Word has been settled in the heavens forever. (Psalm 119:89)
In His discourse on the Mount of Olives the Lord Jesus spoke about what would happen in the future. He used the term “birth pains” to describe the ‘contractions’ of wars, rumours of wars. He said these things must happen but also said the end is not yet. He then added that there would be international wars between nations and ethnic wars within nations and that famines, earthquakes and pestilences in various places would mark future history and escalate in intensity and frequency in the last days leading up to His return and the birth of His Messianic Kingdom on earth.
In light of the current COVID-19 many of us as believers have a tendency to become anxious and more so because of our family members and loved ones. While it is so easy to fix our eyes on the birth pains we fail to fix our eyes on the birth of the baby. A woman goes into labour and it is extremely painful and causes much discomfort. However, once the baby is born and in the arms of its mother the labour pains are quickly forgotten in the joy of the new life that has been birthed.
As believers in our Lord Jesus we cannot avoid tribulation (trials, afflictions, oppression, persecution and troubles of all kinds) in this life and through much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22) While COVID-19 is a spectre of doom to many it is one of the many pestilences that our Lord Jesus said would come especially in the last days.
History records that in times past since the first century when plagues came there were faithful believers who gave themselves to helping the sick and the dying by risking their own health and many of these faithful believers succumbed to the plague themselves. It has been reported that in China right now multitudes of faithful believers are reaching out to the sick and the dying and witnessing to them about the love and mercy of God, handing out tracts and undoubtedly telling them not to put their hope in this world or in uncertain riches. (1Timothy 6:17)
None of us knows how things will end with the COVID-19 or what ultimate effect it will have on the world. Is this virus the beginning of the birth pains? Many most probably believe that it is and it may well be so. As believers in the Lord Jesus the most important thing for us to know is that we are living and walking daily in all of God’s will for our lives. Only in God’s will is their safety. We may get sick and even die but suffering is part and parcel of living in this world and besides that we know where we are going.
While we should not seek to suffer or seek persecution or trials and afflictions these things come to us all to a greater or lesser degree at one time or another. Satan and his minions from Hades are pulling out all the stops to afflict and persecute the faithful saints of God because Satan knows his time is short. When a soldier is enlisted into the army there is no guarantee that he will be spared from combat or injuries or even death but in enlisting he is saying he will obey the commands given and is prepared to carry them through.
When the Lord Jesus calls us to follow Him without question and we, by faith, are born again and start to walk in His commandments, God Himself enlists us into His eternal army. After this through the mighty Baptism with the Holy Spirit He furnishes us with the spiritual armour and weapons we need to fight the world, the flesh and the devil and whatever Satan’s minions from Hades throw at us. This is why we must have a personal relationship with God the Father and with God the Son but with God the Holy Spirit. It is the blessed Holy Spirit Himself who empowers us to walk in the will of God. He is the comforter or the consoler or “one called alongside of another to strengthen and to aid them.” (John 14:6)
As we lovingly submit to the Lord Jesus by faith, and seek to obey His word every day with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will prove God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for us in this life. This will prepare us also for the life to come. (Romans 12:1-2) COVID-19 is with us and who knows how long for? However, in all the changing circumstances of life, the one thing we can be sure of is that God still has everything under control, and He does you know.
In psalms 91 and 121 we have God’s promises to take care of those who walk in the will and the commandments of God. In our prayer time with the LORD in light of the COVID-19 it is a great comfort to the soul to read what God has said and promised to do in these passages of scripture in a time when pestilence and satanic opposition is rampant.
The late Derek Prince once said; “You are as strong as the will of God.” The encouraging thing is that if we seek to walk in the will of God by faith and according to His word then no matter what happens to us we will not leave here until our job is done! If or when we leave this body we go to a far better place.