There is an old proverb that “You don’t miss the water until the well goes dry.” We are often taken by surprise by some occurrence, event or development that should have been obvious, but which was somehow overlooked or simply not acknowledged until it befalls us.
For example, energy shortages are very predictable, considering our huge demand and inadequate supply. Water shortages, combined with inadequate sanitation, set the stage for rapid spread of sickness and disease in densely populated poor communities. And HIV/AIDS continues to spread, though it has largely fallen from the headlines. International air travel carries with it the potential to spread disease very rapidly all around the world. In the wake of natural disasters, which are affecting mankind now more than ever, we also see increased outbreaks of disease.
Many will proudly say, “We have eliminated smallpox, measles, polio, tuberculosis, malaria and many other devastating diseases that were prevalent a generation ago.” Certainly, great progress has been made, but are we really secure in our public health? Or are we simply counting the days before we face a terrible catastrophe?
Devastating pandemics have occurred throughout history. From 1347 to 1351, bubonic plague swept across Europe, Asia and Africa—it is believed to have caused the death of more than 100 million people. A deadly influenza pandemic swept across the globe from June 1918 to December 1920, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 50 million to 100 million people. And there are many other smaller but still deadly disease outbreaks, as when the H1N1 strain of the flu virus, known as the Swine Flu, caused an estimated 18,000 deaths worldwide in 2009.
Recent rioting in the Middle East, Europe, England and the United States reveals how quickly law and order can break down. These violent disruptions can quickly cut the supply routes, interrupting the supply of food, water, fuel, and electricity. Stores are quickly emptied of food and supplies. Medical care facilities are overwhelmed and law enforcement and the military simply cannot cope. The ensuing panic can exacerbate the situation and the fragile fabric of an orderly society can quickly become shredded. It seems that the stage is being set for the devastating rapid spread of disease.
Students of the Bible are not surprised by these developments. In a number of prophecies referring to the end times, disease and human suffering are described in detail. In one well-known passage, a disturbing word picture is drawn. “So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8).
It is only a matter of time until the pale horse rides with the resulting suffering and death. And yet, Christians should not fear this awful time. Jesus plainly predicted it and gave comforting instructions. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakesin various places”(Matthew 24:6-7).
We live in sobering times. And yet, as Christians, we have the promise of God’s intervention for his “elect”—those who are called and chosen in this age—for peace of mind and protection.
You can have this assurance and resulting peace. Our free booklet, What Is a True Christian?, will point you in the right direction. Order it, or read it online, before the “pale horse” rides!