The Most Deadly Virus in History
The world has recently been inundated with fear about the spread of the coronavirus. It started around the beginning of this year and has now killed over 2,500 people in China and numerous others in many other countries. Why is the coronavirus so feared when the ordinary flu virus has killed more than 8,200 people this flu season in the States alone? My guess is that it has to do with control. We have vaccines to help us control the flu, but for the coronavirus there is no solution yet. Not knowing how to control a perceived threat can be very frightening.
There have been other feared and fatal flu epidemics, like the 1918 flu epidemic which took more than 50 million lives around the world, over 600,000 here in the States. Schools were closed and church services were suspended. Playgrounds, theaters, and all places of amusement were shut down. Government meetings were cancelled, and everyone was encouraged to wear masks. Essential meetings were conducted outside, to avoid any close contact with others. Funeral homes were overwhelmed, and had to call in the military to help with digging thousands of graves.
How did this affect society? People became isolated. As one survivor put it, “We became more individualistic.” Cities became ghost towns, with very little activity. Everything was shut down. If you dared to venture outside, you wore a mask, and avoided getting close to anyone else, with no hugging permitted. If you were infected and seen in public, you were fined $50, which was a lot of money in 1918. The Army’s Surgeon General issued a list of 12 rules to prevent the spread of the disease, such as “avoid needless crowding,” “open windows,” “breathe deeply,” and “wash your hands before eating.” One slogan at the time was, “Cover up when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t, you’ll spread the disease.”
How does this affect us, and what can we learn from it? One thing I’ve noticed is that we don’t learn very well. We become conditioned. Our fear subsides. We trust in our technological advances and scientific solutions to protect us from any threat that confronts us. Our fear dissipates and we become blasé to “the pestilence [plague] that walks in darkness” or the “destruction [disease] that lays waste at noonday” (Psalm 91:6 NKJV).
The devil is a master at the art of conditioning, and there is a much greater danger, a much more destructive 'virus' out there that has killed more people than the “Spanish Flu” of 1918. What virus is that?
The virus that has killed more people on this planet than any other epidemic or pandemic combined is not the COVID-19 or SARS virus, but the SIN virus! In Romans 5:15 NLT, Paul identifies the culprit when he says, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many.” How many? Probably in the billions. This virus has wrecked havoc and destruction since the beginning of time, yet people don’t regard it as scary as COVID-19 which has only killed between 2,000 and 3,000 people. The flu virus can only kill the body for this life. The SIN virus kills “the body and the soul” for eternity (Matthew 10:28).
Is there an antidote or vaccine for the SIN virus? I am so glad there is; yay! Here is the Good News, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17 NLT). Are you vaccinated against this deadly virus? If not, do it now! (And it doesn’t even hurt – no needles required.)