It’s impossible to miss the virus pandemic that has spread around the world. I remember hearing the first rumours about a virus in China, in February of this year. Those rumours quickly became a fact and the disease spread to every place in the world. We all know this.
Did you know this is qualifies as a biblical famine? Our reaction is now as dangerous as the disease. People will suffer from a virus infection, and some will die. Also, our social controls to resist the disease have disrupted the world economy. Now, more people will die from the remedy than from the disease. We are really hurting ourselves:
When we think of a famine on a biblical scale, we always imagine a lack of food. That is partly true, but in ancient times, food was the economy. Everyone worked on a farm and lived by the food they produced, except for a few who lived in a village, close to the farm fields. An economic recession always meant starvation, right away.
It was not always about food. The prophet Amos warned about a famine for spiritual things:
““The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land, not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” (Amos 8: 11 and 12)
So a famine is a shortage, a crisis when we lose the things that we need to live. Today we might call that a recession or a depression.
Are you ready for the famine of 2020? It is already on us.
Our management of a virus pandemic has brought a famine on the world. We are now short of everything, including food, in many places. Did you know, more than 200 million people carry the malaria parasite, and we have tuberculosis burden countries, where that disease is epidemic, and other diseases like HIV are common and poorly controlled in many places. Those controls will get worse as we struggle with the virus.
The COVID virus will weaken many, but the other diseases will flare up and finally kill them. That’s probably why the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is so popular as a COVID 19 remedy; people know what will actually kill them. I don’t want to comment on the use of that drug to suppress the COVID 19 virus, but we know it prevents other deadly conditions.
What might kill millions is a lack of food, as the pandemic disrupts social management. More accurately, our destructive first world response to the virus is causing disruption. The virus is a terrible thing, but it is becoming clear that the death toll from the actual virus will be much smaller than the death rate and human suffering from all the other effects that we brought on ourselves. The virus will open the door to a host of plagues. Where I live, we have a lack of employment and the national debt is out of control. We are in a financial crisis.
God help us to find a vaccine soon, but we have a bigger crisis. Somehow, our god of science and progress has given us a virus plague. I don’t know if the virus was created in a lab, but it probably escaped from one. And our sophisticated transportation network spread the infection everywhere. Now, we need to cope with other effects, something much bigger than a scientific problem about a virus. We may soon see human suffering on a scale the world has never seen before.
This is the 2020 COVID 19 famine.
The best news is, we have another God. The one who made us still loves us, and we have some ancient advice on how to cope with a biblical famine:
The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. (Psalm 37: 18 and 19)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. (Proverbs 3: 5, 6, and 7)