Viral outbreak in Africa becomes the latest in slew of natural disasters

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News

Earlier this week, USA Today reported that a new disease known as the Marburg Virus is spreading in Equatorial Guinea in Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the disease, which bears similarities to Ebola, has killed nine people.

Additionally, sixteen people have been infected with the disease. Some of the symptoms are diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and fever.

Some reports indicate that the virus has spread to nearby Cameroon.

This comes as the latest in a series of natural disasters in a span of several months. Among these disasters were a cyclone in New Zealand this past week that forced the island nation to declare a state of emergency for only the third time in the nation’s history.

This also comes off the heels of a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria last week. On February 14, Reuters reported that the latest death toll from both the initial quake and the aftershocks, which have been felt with varying degrees of intensity across multiple middle eastern countries, has eclipsed 41,000.

Even as rescue efforts continue from the work of groups like Samaritan’s Purse, the devastation across the Middle East continues to be revealed as the death toll rises.

Author’s Biblical Analysis

Believer, we must be keenly aware of what is happening around us. We see “the signs of the times” seemingly everywhere we look.

Let us heed Jesus’ words of warning to His disciples in Mark 13, understanding they apply to us as well:

Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.  – Mark 13:5-11

We are seeing a flood of disasters, famines, earthquakes, wars, and rumors of wars. War has ravaged Ukraine for the last year, and even in the United States, there are rumors of wars with China circulating almost daily.

Jesus predicted things such as these would happen, and then He gave His followers a stern charge: You must be on your guard.

We must be ready to stand firm on the truth of the gospel, because the days will come (for many of us it is already here) when Christians will be openly persecuted simply for their fealty to Christ.

So how do we respond? Here are a few words of encouragement:

First, stand firm. Do not waver on the truth of Christianity. Be ready to give an answer for the hope you possess (1 Peter 3:15), and do it firmly while also always doing it in love. There is great urgency in this call because we know the end is coming soon. There are countless souls around us who, if the Lord returned today, would be left in the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). We have the hope of the world, and we must share it with those who need it.

Second, take courage. We are in the service of the conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The trials that come our way because of faith in Christ cannot compare with the perfection that waiting for us in the kingdom of God (Romans 8:19). Let us rest in this great hope, even as we prepare for an uptick in intensity in the war against the principalities of evil in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6).

Praise God, the victory won by Jesus Christ belongs to us as well!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  – John 16:33