Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 30, 2003
SARS and the end of the world
( Romans 5:12, Matthew 24:36 )
SARS and the end of the world. Sadly, I knew it was going to happen. I am hearing daily now, men and women of God proclaiming that the current SARS epidemic is part of God's judgment that is ushering in the end of the world. These are the same people who during 1999 made convincing arguments that Y2K would be this catastrophic worldwide nightmare. These are the same people who just a month ago were talking about the nuclear war that would ensue because of our military action in Iraq. Now they are back, trying to make a case that SARS is some sort of plague on man that will wipe out a huge percentage of the world's population. The one common bond all of these doom and gloomers share is that they sell truckloads of books and tapes every time they find a reason that the world is coming to an end.
I remember several times in late 1999, writing Devotionals to try and calm people down who were in such a panic over Y2K. They were taking all of their money out of the bank, buying gold, purchasing boxes and boxes of dehydrated food, and spending a fortune on special waterless toilets and generators. I tried to explain that the predictions of worldwide disasters made no sense at all. But there is a hunger in many people for these world-ending disaster scenarios. The biggest selling Christian books are about end time prophecy. Most people want to know the future, and there is no shortage of men and women who will tell them (if you buy their books or tapes), even though Bible prophecy is VERY SUBJECTIVE. The wonderful thing about prophecy is that these are future events, so you really can't tell someone that what they say is wrong.
Will there be an end to the world? ABSOLUTELY! The Bible clearly teaches that. The Bible also teaches that ONLY God knows the exact time that will occur. ANY MAN OR WOMAN THAT CLAIMS TO KNOW WHEN THIS WILL HAPPEN IS SOMEONE TO RUN FROM! While it can be interesting to try and put current events, nations, and people into end-times scenarios, it is a very dangerous thing to do. Speculation is one thing, but anyone that tries to make definitive statements tying specific events, nations, and people into bible prophecy do so at their own peril, since over the course of the last 2,000 years many have played this game and failed. Prophecy experts were convinced in the late 30's that Adolph Hitler was indeed the anti-Christ and the end of the world was playing out before our very eyes. Based on the events of that day, that would have been an easy case to make. It is also a great example of why playing that game is so dangerous since they were obviously very wrong.
The reason SARS is not part of some end of the world scenario is because it is a sickness, no more or less than any other sickness that befalls mankind. To put all sickness and disease in the proper context, you have to understand that God created man in perfection. Man was NEVER to get sick, and NEVER to die. Death became the byproduct of his sin in the Garden of Eden. Once sin became part of the world that we live in, sickness and disease, the breakdown of the human body unto death, were now part of the human condition. It was sin becoming part of our world that led to man's body getting sick, being ravaged by disease, that would eventually lead to physical death.
I love you and care about you so much. My word to you today is this. SARS is NOT part of some end of the world scenario, but is simply another disease that is part of this sin-filled world that we live in. One day however, at a time only God knows, He will bring an end to this world as we know it. That is a very real future event. Our job is to be personally prepared for that event, and to do our best each day to help others be prepared as well. That is why I harp so often on doing all that we can to share the hope and love of Christ with this lost and hurting world that we live in. You see, the one thing we DO KNOW FOR SURE, is that when this brief journey is over we will live on for eternity. The only question is where we will spend that eternity.
I pray today that you will open your heart to the Lord and be prepared for your eternal home. If this very moment you are not 100% sure where your eternal home is, please take a moment and pray, ask God to open your heart, and read the words at this link www.liveprayer.com/SPlan.html . There is no greater decision that you will make in this life than to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and insure where you will spend eternity. One day the world WILL come to an end. One day you WILL die. Both of these events WILL happen. Make sure today that you know for 100% certainty where your eternal home will be, and then go out and do all that you can to help as many people as you can find that same eternal home.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller