With all the dire predictions by the media and statisticians regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it by individuals, it has made me stop and think about what the future holds. Do we have any idea of what Daniel 12:1 really implies? “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time” (NKJV). This text tells me that there will be, in rapid succession and maybe simultaneously, many of the horrors of the past, such as:
• The French revolution, the Black Hole of Calcutta, Pol Pot, and the Holocaust
• Krakatoa and the Yellowstone Caldera
• Tsunamis of Indonesia, Chili 1960, and Japan 2011
• Nuclear reactor accidents of Chernobyl, 3-Mile Island, SL-1 in Eastern Idaho, multiple nuclear submarines, and Fukushima Daiichi, Japan
• Mass starvation of China, India, and Sudan
• Terrorist and surprise attacks of World Trade Center, Oklahoma City, Paris, London, Athens, Pearl Harbor
• Economic “bubbles” and hyperinflation as in Argentina in the 1970s and 80s, Germany in the 1920s, the Tulip Mania of 1637, the Dot-com Bubble, Zimbabwe 2007 to present, Venezuela currently, and the United States in the 1930s and 2008
• Rising temperatures and sea levels (human-induced or not is irrelevant)
• Unpredictable weather: blizzards, hurricanes, floods, cyclones, and tornados
• Roving vigilantes, rogue nations attacking other nations, WWI and II
• Plagues: Black Death, Ebola, AIDS, Anthrax, Smallpox, skin eating bacteria, EEE, and multiple coronaviruses
The question is, are we prepared to trust God, knowing that He has warned us of these things in advance to confirm our faith, or will we be like the wicked during the seven last plagues, who blame God for all the evil that is coming upon them? It is interesting to note that with as little information as he apparently had, Job maintained his trust in God and “did not charge God foolishly.”
Since I am involved in a prayer ministry, I read many requests that seem to imply that God is causing their problems. Yes, God does allow trials to come to us to increase our faith and trust. However, what will be our response when everyone loses his or her job and retirement savings in a global economic collapse? Will we charge God foolishly?
When Jesus was on earth, He had read and memorized much of the Old Testament and knew what His purpose and mission were. Therefore, when events transpired in fulfillment of prophecy, He was prepared to follow God’s plan. Even though He said, “Why have you forsaken me?” He did not end His life with those words. Instead, He confirmed His trust when He said, “Into your hand I commit my spirit.”
Our lives are comfortable, and we are contented. Our window of experience is very narrow, and our expectations of what is “normal” are warped and myopic. Will we blame God when we lose our jobs, retirement funds, or our life insurance, or will we praise Him for warning us, using the experience to reconfirm and establish our trust in Him, driving us to rely on Him for everything — even our next meal? Will we blame God when our elderly, our children, or those who may be weak in faith, may be put to sleep to save them, and so they will not experience these future horrors? Are we willing to be put to sleep if it is the means of saving others or even ourselves?
Do we have the same life insurance that Jesus had?
Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.
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