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home : religion : inspirational reflections July 5, 2020

4/26/2020 3:15:00 PM
Nothing New
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith
Emanuel Reformed Church

I appreciate the readers of this column and thank you for the calls, emails, and letters I receive telling me what this column means to you and giving me ideas for future topics. This week a reader wanted to know if the COVID 19 pandemic is fulfilling biblical prophesy, or as some may say – is time “winding up?”

That is a good question. Some of the measures being proposed for the future functioning of our society can be tied to passages in the Book of Revelation. People have strong opinions on every side about why this is happening and what to do about it. I do not have the answers and am not the best person to debate end times prophesy, but I do know one thing. Epidemics, plagues, and pandemics have wreaked havoc in humanity across thousands of years. Prehistoric mass graves indicate epidemics, the Plaque of Athens in 430 B.C., the Antonine Plaque A.D. 165, The Black Death in 1346, the Great Plaque of London in 1665, the flu pandemic of 1889, and many others can be found in history. For information about the 20 worst pandemics and epidemics in history go to

1 - Rock Fitness - New Design

My caller was not aware of even the most recent pandemics such as The Spanish Flu that closed American society in the early 1900’s in much the same way we are experiencing now. In February 1920, the Hickory City Council passed an ordinance that required residents to post signs on their doors if they had the disease and stay inside for at least 12 days. The ordinance included that “All theaters, public gatherings, schools, churches, including Sunday school, shows, carnival fairs in the city or within one mile of the corporate limits shall be closed” with fines for violations. The same was true for the polio epidemic of the 1940’s which closed communities in the same way. A special hospital just for polio was built in Hickory in 1944 and the victims were quarantined with no visitors at all, not even parents, for two and a half months like nursing home residents today. We have been here before. This is nothing new to the human race.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;  there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say,

“Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

Knowing this is nothing new helped my caller and I hope it helps you too. People and communities are resilient. We will make it through this with the help of God. In past epidemics and pandemics people probably wondered “is this the end?” but time and time again it was not. Jesus said this:

Matthew 24:36
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

So what should we do? Keep living today and trust God for tomorrow. An old saying goes “Live as if this was your last day on earth and also like you will be around for a long time.” Be prepared to meet the Lord today because tomorrow is not promised to anyone and live today to make tomorrow better - you will be glad you did when tomorrow comes.

Rev. Smith is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and can be reached at 828-962-8196, or PO Box 3311 Hickory NC 28603.

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