Is this the beginning of pains – By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

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In Matthew 24:3, Christ was confronted with a question by His disciples about the signs that will indicate His second coming. In Christ’s response in verses 6-8, he foretold an endless sequence of disorders and calamities that would befall mankind”And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows”.

On a constant note in the not-too- distant decades, humanity has been confronted with one pandemic or other that leave at their trail deaths and other forms of devastation.

Before now,HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), remains one of the largest pandemics in the world. The virus, which is the same that leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) ravaged humanity like no other thing.

Findings indicate that the virus was found  earliest case of HIV in a blood sample of a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Further findings revealed that the most common form of the virus spread from chimpanzees to humans sometime before 1931. This era most likely coincided with the era of bush meat trading.

Projections by researchers before 1980 revealed that estimated 100,000 to 300,000 people were infected by the scourge. And at the peak of the scourge millions of people were gone, rendering a whole lot orphans, widows and widowers.

The scourge wreaked havoc up to a point that in 1985, President Ronald Reagan called research for AIDS “a top priority” for his administration. Furthermore, it attracted attention to the extent President Bill Clinton hosted the first White House Conference on HIV and AIDS, and called for a vaccine research center. The center later opened in 1999.

Ever since, there have been outbreaks which devastations were lighter in scale compared to other major outbreaks.

As the world was smarting up to wriggle itself out of the havoc occasioned by the HIV/AIDS scourge,the largest Ebola outbreak was witnessed between 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa. .The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia. The 2018-2019 outbreak in eastern DRC was highly complex, with insecurity adversely affecting public health response activities. The virus first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now Nzara, South Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, DRC. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease derived its name.

Ebola virus’s transmission was traced to fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family who were natural hosts. Ebola was introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Today, another deadly virus has come visiting. Coronavirus(COVID-19). Bells announcing church services no longer toll in some cities; the once busy cities are now desolate; the stadia across Europe and other continents, which were filled to the brim during weekends and midweeks are now deserted; countries which oil was mainstay of their economy are now having a rethink and adjusting their budgets to suit economic realities on ground; families are now separated. COVID-19 is in town. There is pervading fear. This virus respects neither the poor nor the rich.

Like Luke 21:26 posits:”men’s heart are now failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on earth”.

Humanity should brace up for tougher days ahead. As highlighted by Christ in Matthew 24:8″All these are the beginning of sorrows”.

There will be no break in the chain of sorrows, worries, and disasters that will afflict mankind until the second coming of Christ.”When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

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