Chaos. That’s the only word that describes what is happening around the world, and in front of my eyes. Outside, a deadly plague is spreading quickly, and people are becoming severely ill and dying. Their moans of anguish fill the streets through the dark days and even darker nights. We hear the explosions all around us, there are fires burning out of control all around our home in Houston. Gun shots ring out, and society has broken down without warning. Hundreds and hundreds of people are lined up outside of every hospital the city, and some of those medical facilities are over-run with desperate people hoping to be cured. I’m already inside Methodist Hospital in Houston for a head injury, and I can’t wait to get out as sick people come in for treatment by the truckload. Many of those frantically trying to get into the hospitals join the mass of bodies that have already fallen. The plague is out of control.
My friend Jack is with us, and he’s concerned about his family in Wichita. He hasn’t been able to get through on the phone, and restlessly paces back and forth. Jack heads down to a quick shop a few miles away and we receive word that he has collapsed and died from the contagion.
My phone starts ringing. I pick up to find that it’s my son, Steven. I can barely hear his words as the line cuts in and out. He tells me that he has put his family into their SUV, and they’re on their way to our place. But the highways are crammed with accidents – crumpled, burning cars, the bodies of the dead, and a logjam of vehicles trying to get through. He adds that the earth is shaking, and earthquakes are collapsing the roadways, especially in the large cities. But no one is safe and the roads and overpasses are crumbling into the abyss. My son is forced to find alternate routes to get to us, but he promises he’ll be with us soon.
In the hospital, I’m being treated for a head injury that I sustained in NYC towards the end of 2019. I’m anxious to leave in a hurry. I don’t need to contract this plague also, or have my wife Dora contract it either. But we wait, watching a channel on the in-room television that shows various Bible verses set to soft Christian music. I know God is speaking to me through his Word. I tell Dora that I want to speak with the Chaplain.
When the Chaplain comes in, he asks me if I know what God said when he saved man’s soul? I answer, “John 3:16, NIV – ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’”
What does this mean? Why is the Chaplain asking me to repeat this from memory? I suddenly realize that it’s because this verse is the core, the very essence, of Christianity. God loved the world enough to come as Jesus, and to die for us, so that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved from sin. Seeing my understanding, the Chaplain turns and leaves the room.
Later, another Chaplain, different from the first, visits and asks me what the Bible says about preparing to be with God before the world ends. I reply, “2 Timothy 3:1-5 – ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.’” The Chaplain had to help me remember parts of these verses, as I had seen them on the TV screen but not fully memorized them.
Knowing that the second Chaplain is waiting for more, I search my memory. I am more familiar with the book of Revelations than 2nd Timothy, so I continue, “Signs of the end times according to Revelations are nations rising against each other, and wars between peoples and nations. A series of natural disasters offer additional signs of the end times, including earthquakes and violent hailstorms. God also appoints messengers to preach the gospel during the end times.”
Again the Chaplain helps me recall what I’ve read in the Bible and from my Christian upbringing on a farm in the Midwest: The signs of the end times show us that the earth has reached the last days.They will include the presence of false prophets, false teaching, war, persecution, apostasy, lawlessness, earthquakes, famine, plagues, increase in selfishness, denial of what is good, mocking of Jesus, an increase in knowledge, rise of spiritism, decay of marriage, ungodly lusts.
I reflect on the world we live in and see that rebellion against God is everywhere. Immorality is permitted and even celebrated. God’s eternal law – the Ten Commandments – are being discarded, and we have threatened the very Earth and all life on it through our greed, avarice and malice. God’s glory has been rejected, ridiculed and diminished as many have left their faith behind, or worse, never experienced it at all.
All around us there is famine, disease, pollution and death. Just when we thought we had conquered all the diseases in the world, new ones appeared: HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Avian Flue, Swine Flu, SARS, MERS. I know the situation outside the hospital is worse than I could imagine.
When I’m finally released from the hospital, I pray that we can make it back home safely. I also pray that my Steven and his family are safe and that they can can find their way to our home through the massive destruction.
Once we arrive at home, we pray together as the screams of people get closer, closing in on all sides. We hear them in the hallway of our apartment, upstairs, downstairs and next door. We hear booming ‘thud, thud’ sounds as people bang on the walls and doors, running wildly. At one point we hear a loud, persistent rapping on our front door, followed by Steven’s voice, “Dad, it’s us. Dad!”
Steven’s family comes in and we all embrace. The screams of despair are getting louder in our building, and far in the distance a terrible rumble grows louder. There are tremendous explosions, and fires that rage to consume everything around them, even as the skies darken and pour rain.
From the awful sound, we know the earth is being ripped apart, punctuated by the roar of buildings crashing down around us. Steven had told us the roads were falling into the abyss. Now the ground is quaking with increased violence. We gather in prayer, joining out voices together even as our building starts to crumble, and the last of the dying moans brings an unnatural silence. We feel a sensation of weightlessness as our entire place rises into the air. We pray harder, louder, reading His word with the full conviction of our Faith. The rest of the world falls away as we are lifted into the sky to be with Jesus Christ.
Below us the war rages on, and we know how it will end.
This was a dream I had during my admittance to Methodist Hospital Houston. TX from October 30th through the first week of November. I was hospitalized after suffering a seizure in Houston. I shared this dream with friends and family, not knowing just how much of it I’d have to relive in the following months.
On October 9th, on a trip to New York City with my wife, Dora and my friend Jack Myers, I fell and suffered a head injury when my head struck a curb. The impact was so hard, I don’t even remember it. I didn’t see a doctor right away, choosing to finish out the trip and get back to Houston. I don’t remember anything about that return flight home either.
On October 30th, I suffered a seizure and was taken to Methodist Hospital in Houston, where I was hospitalized for almost a week.
It was during the first week of November that I dreamed of the plague and Jack’s death. The first case of the novel coronavirus infection wouldn’t appear in Wuhan, China until Dec. 10, but it wasn’t until Dec. 31 that China reported the new, unknown illness to the World Health Organization (WHO). And Jack, a former elite athlete who was in incredible shape, died on January 3, 2020.
Because no one outside of China was aware of the rapidly spreading contagion in that country, it was Jack’s death that first stunned me on Jan. 3. That day I got a call from a childhood friend who was out bird hunting with Jack. Around 10:30am they stopped to take a break. When they went back out to continue the hunt, my good friend Danny Renken saw Jack go down on a knee. Danny asked Jack if he was OK. Jack answered, “I just need to catch my breath.” He just got the last word out of his mouth when he fell over, dead.
I was so devastated about the loss of my best friend since Kindergarten. The shock and grief were so sudden that all I could think about was his family and the many moments we shared throughout his life. I kept recalling our trip to New York in October, where his energy and spirit were as bright as ever. And then I remembered the dream, in which I saw him collapse and die, which made the loss even more surreal.
From the moment we met in Kindergarten Jack Myers was my partner in crime. We loved playing sports together and most of all we just enjoyed life and learned together and shared many laughs along the way! I am blessed to have had a best friend like Jack for almost 60 years. Whenever we talked about a serious challenge facing someone, he would like to remind me, “Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around!” I’m taking his words to heart and living life for Jesus Christ and for my best friend. Anyone would be blessed to have a best friend like Jack was to me.
Then came the news headlines about the novel coronavirus and how cities in China were under lockdown. It felt eerie, but still far away like the SARS incident. That is, until it started appearing in other countries: South Korea, Iran, Italy and more.
It wasn’t until January 21 that the first case was diagnosed in the United States. And for a few weeks, it looked like we were lucky. It appeared to be a slow progression, but we now know that was due to a lack of testing capability. We’ve gone from “business as usual” to “stay at home.”
We need to remember that during a crisis like this, we need to stop wallowing in fear and instead be thankful for and cherish the people in our lives. And we need to lift those who need help, including those who are most vulnerable to infection, those whose livelihood is at risk, and those with mental health issues. I pray that by working together and helping each other, we will OVERCOME!
How Are You Going to React?
“A tiny germ infected a person on the other side of the world just 3 months ago, and from person-to-person transmission, this germ has made it all around the world including most likely your town, city or state. So, if you ever wonder if one person can actually have an impact on the world by how you treat people, remember: all it takes is one person at a time to change the world we live in.”
–Dr. Rod Staats M.D.I.M.E.R.
In this life, we must deal with fear, anger, pressure, greed, money, success, and family challenges, just to mention a few. Truth and humility are the foundation we must rely on. Even in a crisis, we are blessed with the opportunity to show others compassion, love and patience. Try looking at each day as your chance to do something special for others. Let’s encourage each other and be kind to one another.
Most of us never imagined that days like 9/11 and this COVID-19 pandemic would come! Just like I never thought I would be injured in that explosion when I was in my early 20’s, but I knew I had to keep moving forward. God had a plan for me. And I can tell you that He has a plan for all of us.
During the Coronavirus, many of us are scrambling to figure out just what is going on, and how it will impact our lives and communities. It is up to us to keep our faith strong and control our fears. We will make it through these trying times. For many, faith is hard and especially difficult to sustain.
Now we are living through what amounts to a “lockdown.” We can’t freely meet up with friends and family, we can’t attend religious gatherings, learning has gone remote and sports at every level have been cancelled – including the postponed 2020 Tokyo Summer Games – something that has never happened in the history of the modern Olympics. The pressure of the situation is a difficult one. But with faith we can stay strong.
Everyone who has faced extreme adversity knows just how true that is. When the only way out is forward, you find new levels of strength and courage you never knew you had. You stop being paralyzed by fear and start making good things happen. It’s not easy, but it’s what we are meant to do for ourselves and others.
So was it just a dream or a premonition? Or both? The faithful understand that when you seek God’s word, it’s sometimes possible to see things that others don’t. Then when it happens you realize that you knew all along because God gave you a dream (or vision) and other warning signs that others may have dismissed.
I was re-admitted to the hospital again on November 21, 2019, where doctors performed many tests. I was released and have been working on getting my life in order as this coronavirus rages on across the world.
Whether my dream was a vision of Armageddon or the Rapture, I don’t know. What I do know is that I am placing my faith in GOD and doing my best to live a Christian life no matter what happens. We all must come to terms with what that means to us at some point in our lives. When the end comes by death or destruction bottom line – it’s between YOU and GOD!