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June 1, 2020

Hold On!

Picture if you will, four angels holding fabric that slips ever so slightly from their hands as the weight of the world bears down in the center of a sheet-like cloth which they are grasping as tightly as they can. The muscles in their arms, hands, and especially their fingers, begin to burn as they attempt to keep the sheet from slipping. 

Albert Einstein used the idea of an invisible fabric to depict gravity through which he postulated each planet is influenced by each other. Even galaxies are said to coalesce in groups and are drawn toward each other as each share this invisible space-time material. He may have been on to something as in some ways it reminds me of the picture that John the Revelator described when he stated, And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree (Revelation 7:1 NKJV). 

Is it possible God is attempting to grasp our attention as tiny “micro-slips” of this illustrative “sheet” in Einstein’s case or metaphorical “winds” in John the Revelator’s vision, the latter of which, although meant to depict cosmic activities beyond our understanding, nevertheless, yield for earth’s inhabitants life-destroying wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and pandemics too?  

From a spiritual perspective, is it possible He’s shaking us from our spiritual slumber in an attempt to wake us up? Because, like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, although warned to watch and pray over and over again, our love of the world and its comforts cause us to fall into a deep sleep over and over again.   

Providentially, God allows pandemics, such as that which happened in 1342 and 1918, a pause of 576 years in which the angels’ hands seemed to hold firmly with only ever so slight micro-slips indicated by some smaller epidemics between those years. Now we have a better understanding of what it means to see the winds slip as they did in 1918 when a major life-destroying contagion swept the globe killing, by some estimates, as many as 50 million precious souls whose fates were forever sealed. 

Some would ask, “Is God judging the world?” I would have to have a face-to-face conversation with God to know the answer to that question. So to them I would say, “Jesus identified who is really at work.” He stated, A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10 CSB). 

That said, my first point is, since 1918 there was only a 100-year pause before another global pandemic, not 576 years. Certainly, since 1918 life on earth has been interrupted by the destroyer of life as smaller epidemics typically lacking in global impact such as the 1957 Flu have occurred. But notice how, since 1918, the sheet has slipped ever so slightly again and again. In 1976 a dangerous disease occurred called Ebola re-emerged. Most alive today also remember the sudden scare caused by HIV in 1981.  Since that time the world has battled Avian Flu (1997), SARS in 2003, H1N1/Swine Flu (2009), in 2015 Zika, and now our world has been rocked and shocked by COVID-19.  Hopefully, you noticed how each of these plagues are coming closer together in quicker succession, increasing virulence and greater severity. The greatest pain my heart feels is, painful as it is, not how many people have died globally in a COVID-19 world, but how many people are being swept by the enemy into Christless graves with no hope of eternity in view?      

COVID-19 is a tectonic slip that, while small by Jesus’ last day predictions, is still, hopefully, enough slippage that a sleepy church awakens from its lethargy and a sin-entranced world is shaken enough to look to the holy writ of God’s Holy Word. My prayer is that we will rise from our spiritual slumber so we can hear His voice in the distance and be ready to go out to meet Him with our lamps trimmed and burning.     

For Seventh-day Adventists, this is our day! This time is the end time about which we have invited our family and friends, even strangers to take Bible studies or attend meetings so they, too, could understand, the end is not yet, yet, it’s even at the doors.  Globally, we knocked on doors, secured billboards, advertised in newspapers, radio, and television with an invitation to hear the cry of three seemingly unimportant angelic messages in Revelation 14, messages of hope for a distracted, dying world.  

A time is coming when there is no such thing as “time.” Then, thanks to Jesus, all creation and all the redeemed will enjoy eternal existence in God’s presence. So, for now, while there may be or may not be “space-time fabric,” as postulated by an astrophysicist, there is, one way or another, four winds being held by the grace of God. We know this to be true because, We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:18-19 KJV). For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21 KJV).   

Is it possible that there are angels working with God attempting to save you, me, our families, neighbors and friends who are collectively crying in the celestial realm, “Help me, Lord God! I can’t hold on much longer. They’re slipping!” 

If you feel like you are slipping, give your life to Jesus. Or give it again! Because no matter how treacherous, painful or difficult, that’s when your life begins!