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Pandemic Prophecy: The Next Stage

“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Marie Curie

On 25th March 2020, as we were entering our first national lockdown in Britain, I spent time in prayer and was impacted by a vision of God’s throne, standing strong over a dark ocean of fearful global events. God spoke to me and I wrote the prophetic word you can read here.

When you share a prophetic word, you are often unaware which phrases will endure and emerge as the most pivotal. It has taken me all year to discover that the most resonant part of that prophetic vision and my interpretative words in March 2020 were these:

“…to many others this will be remembered as a time where you ask “What was all that about?!” – a time where fear and panic attempted to take over the hearts of men.”

While many have indeed grieved this year, as the word stated, I do feel we are slowly entering a phase of this troubled season that will be marked as much by uprising and the questioning of the actions of governments and scientists, as by the pandemic itself.

What began early in 2020 as an apparent need for some kind of societal lockdown, while scientists established what kind of danger Coronavirus actually posed and hospitals handled a noticeable above-normal deathrate among many populations, eventually there also arose great disputes about data, exaggerated worst-case scenarios, unclear morbidity rates, hap-hazard advice and authoritarian legal constraints, imported globally from communist China’s pandemic response.

While many have been content with the political response to the pandemic, others are rising up who have felt manipulated by fear-mongering methods from heavy handed politicians, ever-changing rules, the curtailing of basic liberties and blizzards of misinformation and disinformation from a hyperbolic press.

All this is leading, I believe, to a period where some will indeed grieve the sad loss of loved ones to a genuinely vicious virus, but others will rise up questioning the efficacy and justice of lockdowns, driving the poor into greater poverty, leaving cancer sufferers undiagnosed or untreated, mental health in crisis and countless businesses bankrupt. Some studies are already showing that the medium to long term excess deaths caused by lockdowns may be very significant indeed. (3)

Globally, government actions as a result of the pandemic were predicted to push 135 million people into severe hunger and starvation (1), while some studies showed up to 100 million adults and children could have been pushed into extreme poverty. (2) There could be as many as 1.1 million additional child deaths (3) and interrupted immunization programs put 80 million children at risk of contracting deadly diseases. (4) UNICEF expects 6,000 additional children under five could die a day (5). 

Japan’s suicide rate rose 16% (6) while 48% of the UK’s post-lockdown child suicide deaths related to Covid-19 or lockdown. (7) Also in the UK, thousands of children became at risk of abuse and exploitation in unregulated care homes, (8) 80% of young people said the pandemic made their mental health worse (9), 1 in 6 children developed a probable mental disorder, (up from 1 in 9), (10) and many entire families, it was claimed, were being “swept into poverty” by the pandemic. (11)

Professor Philip Thomas of Bristol University estimated that the equivalent of 560,000 UK lives will be lost because of the “health impact of the deep and prolonged recession.” (12)

In the UK a total of 30,260 excess deaths occurred in private homes in 2020, but less than 1 in 10 were due to COVID-19. (13) Online domestic abuse searches increased 352.5% (14), depression and suicidal thoughts rose 26.1% (15) and loneliness and isolation were affecting 9 million in the UK (16). 1 in 3 cancer patients’ treatment was affected and 70% of them said their mental health suffered. Cancer screening was cancelled for 3 million, (17)) 600,000 women missed their smear tests, (18) and excess deaths from heart disease rose 13% (19). A third of the population increased their alcohol intake and 35% postponed seeking medical advice or treatment, a move many believe will lead to a rise in medium term deaths from undiagnosed terminal illnesses. (20)

The jobless rate in the UK rose to 6.5% (21), retail sales in 2020 were the ‘worst for 25 years’ (22) and it was also the worst year for High Street job losses in the same period (23).

This complex world period may well end with governmental leaders and advisors facing investigation and litigation, as the families of those who died as a direct result of government actions, rather than the virus itself, bring rise to waves of examination in the years that follow. 

Peace in the Storm

And so I believe we are entering a period I would call “What was that all about?!” as an uprising of unrest seeks to clarify the events of the last months, and we slowly leave the most intense pandemic period behind, vaccines are distributed and society tries to find its way back to normal.

But in this time of uprising, how should the Christian respond?

Psalm 29 begins by assuring us of God’s reign over a troubled earth. It shows us the power of God’s voice to command and control, to speak and see events change. The Psalm concludes by encouraging us that “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” (verse 11).

For the Christian this is a time for us to keep from both anxiety and denial, and simply to walk in peace and wisdom with our God who reigns. It is time to care for our neighbours, to pray for the frail, to soothe the anxious and to comfort the grieving. It’s a time to “Speak out for those who have no voice” (Proverbs 3:18) and advocate for the poor, to fill up foodbanks, to counsel those facing financial hardship, to pray for the sick and share the Gospel.

But it is not a time for us to be stirred up in fear like the world around us. It is a time rather to trust that God is indeed, “enthroned over the flood” to bring the evil to an end, and that we, His people, are the apple of His eye.

An extract from Jarrod’s 2021 book “The Divine Reset” available here

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Sources

  1. See Notes in The Passion Translation for Psalm 29:10.
  2. https://zachsdad.wpcomstaging.com/2020/03/17/what-i-sense-god-is-saying-about-the-coronavirus/
  3. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31422-7/fulltext

COVID-19 Research Sources

  1. (BMJ/UN World Food Program) https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4263
  2. (UN website/World Bank/Unicef/Save The Children) https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-86-the-long-term-impact-of-covid-19-on-poverty/
  3. (Lancet/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30229-1/fulltext
  4. (New York Times/WHO/UNICEF/Vaccine Alliance) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/22/health/coronavirus-polio-measles-immunizations.html
  5. (UNICEF) https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/covid-19-devastates-already-fragile-health-systems-over-6000-additional-children
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/16/japans-suicide-rate-rises-16-in-second-wave-of-covid-study-finds
  7. (National Child Mortality Database ) https://www.ncmd.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/REF253-2020-NCMD-Summary-Report-on-Child-Suicide-July-2020.pdf
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/06/thousands-of-children-sent-to-unregulated-care-homes-amid-covid.
  9. (Young Minds) https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/
  10. (NHS)  https://digital.nhs.uk/news-and-events/news/survey-conducted-in-july-2020-shows-one-in-six-children-having-a-probable-mental-disorder
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/16/coalition-of-child-experts-urge-inquiry-into-uks-covid-crisis?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
  12. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/is-the-cost-of-another-lockdown-too-high-
  13. (GP Online) https://www.gponline.com/gps-urge-government-consider-indirect-covid-19-harms-lockdown-decisions/article/1696300
  14. https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/05/C0376-domestic-abuse-duringpcovid-19-letter.pdf
  15. (Samaritans) https://www.samaritans.org/news/new-study-reveals-mental-health-impact-initial-lockdown-period/?fbclid=IwAR0mNcWtUe0w7Rszu_Rc71FwG3nbyND-VS8CKBxMcvtVDC6zOV2hqnGsIs8
  16. (Age UK/Mind). https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/silent-epidemic-hit-nine-million-23291390
  17. (Cancer Research UK) https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2020/09/11/whats-happened-to-cancer-services-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
  18. (Caroline Nokes MP)  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9155363/Fears-600-000-women-risk-cervical-smear-tests-cancelled-missed-lockdown.html
  19. (British Heart Foundation) https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2020/october/rise-in-excess-heart-and-circulatory-disease-deaths-in-under-65s
  20. (Kings College London) https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/nearly-a-third-of-uk-public-drinking-more-alcohol-than-usual-during-the-pandemic
  21. (SKY News) https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-boe-governor-about-2-2-million-unemployed-in-very-difficult-period-for-economy-12185707
  22. (BBC) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55625246
  23. (BBC) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55501049

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