03-April-2020 by Timothy Wanjohi
The wisest man in the world, King Solomon, said, there is nothing new under the sun. In previous times, the saints have been faced with periods of hardship during pandemics like the COVID-19 pandemic we are currently facing in the world. In the 16th Century, the ‘Black Death’ caused 75 million deaths in a world of 500 million people. It must have looked like the end of the world. In the 17th Century, Cholera devastated the world severely. In the 20th Century, the Spanish Flu killed 50 million people, and 75% of those who died were killed within the first 15 weeks only. In the first and second world wars, 50 million lives were lost.
The words of the faithful men of God who have gone there before us should serve to encourage us in wisdom and hope. Remember, the only answer is in the Christian perspective and like Esther, we were born for such a time as this. Some of the words that Charles Spurgeon in the 17th Century echoed when Cholera struck England could not be of more relevance for application during this current pandemic. In this post, everything in bold, with very little alteration, was said by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who I singularly consider to be my main mentor. He says everything better than I do. May this post change your life. Amen.
CHARLES SPURGEON ON CHOLERA.
We have all felt grieved when reading our bills of mortality to observe the mysterious spread of the virus in our great city. It is admitted that it would be most foolish to neglect the appointed means of averting sickness. But sneer who may, we believe it to be equally an act of folly to forget the hand of the Lord in this. Amos had observed that a lion does not roar without reason. The great lion of vengeance has not roared unless sin has provoked Him. Let us conclude most surely that a purpose, consistent with the love and justice of God, lies hidden in the present harvest of death.
Inasmuch as God had a purpose in sending tribulation, we may expect that He will not remove it until that designed is answered. If you ask me what I think to be the design, I believe it to be this – to waken up our indifferent population, to make them remember that there is a God, to render them susceptible of the influences of the Gospel, to drive them to the house of prayer, to influence their minds to receive the Word, and moreover to startle Christians into energy and earnestness, that they may work while it is called today.
It is much to be feared that a constant run of prosperity, perpetual peace, and freedom from disease, may breed in our minds just what it has done in all human minds before, namely, security and pride, and forgetfulness of God. It is a most solemn fact that human nature can scarcely bear a long continuance of peace and health. It is almost necessary that we should be every now and then sealed with affliction, lest we putrefy with sin. Already I have been told by Christian brethren labouring in the east of London, that there is a greater willingness to listen to the Gospel truth, for which I thank God as indication that affliction is answering its purpose.
“Shall the trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not afraid” (Amos 3:6)? In times of war in the olden times, there were men stationed upon watch towers, and when they saw the enemy coming the cornet was sounded, and the people rushed to arms. The sound of a trumpet was the warning of war. This virus is like the sound of a trumpet. The voice of the Christian ministry is not heard. Those who go to listen to it do not all hear it, for they hear as though they do not hear, while the great mass know nothing, and care less about the preacher’s message.
Disease, however, is a trumpet which must be heard. Its echoes reach the miserable garrets where the people are crowded together, and have never heard nor cared for the name of Christ, they hear the sound, and as one after another dies, they tremble. Would to God all of us were aroused to a searching of heart, and, above all, led to fly to Christ Jesus, the great sacrifice for sin, and to find in Him a rescue for the greater plague, the wrath to come.
“Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it” (Amos 3:6)? Shall there be a virus in the city, and God hath not done it? My soul cowered down under the majesty of that question. It is not the virus which has slain these hundreds. The virus was but the sword; the hand which scattered death is the hand of a greater than mere disease. The Great Judge of all, at whose girdle swing the keys of death and hell, the mysterious One whose voice bids the pillars of heaven’s starry roof to tremble, who made the stars, and can quench them at His will.
My dear hearers, I would speak as God’s mouth to you as His Holy Spirit shall enable me. Is not the Lord speaking to all of us both saints and sinners, and warning us to be agreed with Him? O you who are His blood-bought people, believers in Jesus, is there any sin that has parted you from communion with Christ? Have you fallen into anything which has provoked the Spirit, so that His comforts are withdrawn? If so, by deep humility and earnest prayer, standing at the foot of the Lord Jesus, pray:
“Return, thou heavenly Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest,
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
And drove Thee from my breast.”
How can you help others, if you yourself have lost the sense of the love of God shed abroad in your heart? I know you are His, and He will never cast you away, but if you do not enjoy His presence you will be as weak as water. And oh, those of you who are not His people, can you bear to be at disagreement with God? You ask for His protection, but how can you expect it if you are not agreed with Him? Now, if two men walk together, there must be a place where they meet together. Do you know where that is? It is at the cross.
Sinner, if thou trust in Jesus, God will meet you there. That is the place where true atonement is made between God and sinners. If thou goes repentantly to Jesus, saying, “Have mercy upon my iniquity; wash me in thy Blood,” thou shalt be agreed with God. And then thou mayest look forward to living and dying with equal delight, for if we live we shall walk with God on earth, and if we die we shall walk with God above.
When vengeance would strike a heavy blow, the closer you can get to it, the less will it wound you. Get close to God in Christ; cling to Him, and He will not destroy you. Fly to Jesus! Say to God, “What would Thou have me to do? Would Thou have me to be Thine? Here I am, Lord; before the snares of hell prevent me. Let the blessed snare of Thine eternal love sweet entangle me. I am, I would be, Thine. Be awake, Christian, and be aware of God’s design, for the trumpet is sounding. And when the trumpet sounds, the Christian must not slumber.
Let the presence of God infuse into you a more than ordinary courage and zeal. My brethren, I charge you, as you love Jesus, as you know the value of your own soul, now, if never before, be in earnest for the salvation of the sons of men. Men are always dying, but now they are hurried down the torrent in increasing numbers. If you and I do not exact ourselves to teach them the Gospel, upon our heads be their blood. It is God’s work we know to save, but then He works by instruments, and we have His own solemn word for it: “If the watchman warn them not, they shall perish, but their blood I will require at the watchman’s hands” (Ezekiel 33:6).
Have you no friends unconverted? Have you no acquaintance unsaved? My hearer, we have set before you life and death; we have threatened you in God’s name, and we have invited you by the precious Blood of Jesus. Give these words some consideration, and may you seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him when He is near, for this is His Word to you, “As I live,” says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from His way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel” (Ezekiel 33:11). And Jesus adds His loving words, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
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