If you’re honest with yourself, this question has probably crossed your mind — even if you quickly dismissed it: Could this be a sign of the end times?
We’re all camped out at home and this all feels a bit scary. So our minds wander. And when we’re worried, wandering minds can be a dangerous thing. In a blog post of her own, Anne Graham Lotz, an author, preacher, and the daughter of the late evangelist Billy Graham, said it feels as if our country “is being attacked by an invisible enemy seeking to destroy us.”
So could this actually be the end?
Lotz referenced Luke 21:11, which reads, “There will be earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.” She also pointed to verse 28, which reads, “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near.”
We should, though, look at the verses that come before those passages. Earlier, Jesus told his disciples, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come.’ But don’t believe them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic’” (Luke 21:8-9).
Jesus ended by telling them that all these things will happen before He returns, but made clear they aren’t signs of an imminent end.
In her post, Lotz — who is immunocompromised due to recent chemotherapy — said she is less concerned about the novel coronavirus and more worried about the panic it has induced around the country.
So far, there are more than 7,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 110 people have died due to complications from the virus, known formally as COVID-19.
If this is a sign that Jesus’ return is, in fact, drawing closer, even if it’s not imminent, Lotz said living in fear is not the appropriate response.
Lotz, who has recently endured her own journey with breast cancer, encouraged people to look vertically — rather than horizontally — as the U.S. and the rest of the world faces the unfolding coronavirus pandemic.
“This is the time to look up from our knees! Let’s ask God to give us a fresh vision of Himself. Because, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,” Lotz wrote, referencing Psalm 46:1-2.
“This is a time to pray for ourselves, our families, our nation, and all those worldwide whose lives are being devastated by the death and disruption this disease is causing,” she later continued. “You and I need to make sure we are right with God so that we are ready to meet Him whenever the time comes.”
Another pastor, Paul David Tripp, explained this week that a healthy fear — what he described as an “appropriate concern” — is OK. In fact, he described it as one of “God’s good gifts to us,” so long as we don’t become consumed by it.
“Giving way to fear is characterized by meditating on the trouble we are facing and forgetting God in the process,” he explained. “This fear reveals itself when we allow our minds and hearts to be controlled by what was initially appropriate concern.”