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God wants us to turn to Him regardless of whether the current pandemic is a specific judgment from God or a matter of time and chance.
He might have, but we can’t say for sure—it appears to be the result of poor human decisions (not following biblical food laws, for instance). The Bible is full of examples where God intervened in human affairs in specific, direct ways, like the flood in Genesis 7 or the plagues of Egypt in Exodus 7-12. One of the main reasons He does so is to issue a wake-up call or punishment on a nation. He would tell them about it in advance so they would have fair warning to make a change. Jonah, for instance, warned the people of Nineveh about God’s impending judgment, and the people took notice and repented, so God didn’t carry out the punishment. In contrast, the people of ancient Israel did not repent of their sins, and God did carry out punishments as He promised.
But there are also events that happen that God does not specifically direct. You could call these “time and chance” events—natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, hurricanes or epidemics that aren’t a result of God directly intervening to cause them, but which nonetheless carry big consequences and cause major changes in the world. The thing about these types of events is that, even if they’re natural and somewhat random, God allows them to happen. They’re not foretold in any specific way through a prophet like in the Old Testament, but God still brings about His will out of them. One of the themes of the Bible is that God created the world as good, but it was then corrupted by sin when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God under Satan’s influence. And ever since, the cascading effects of sin have caused all of creation to be in a state of “rebellion” against God; Paul describes it as “groaning” to be delivered from “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:20-22). God allows all of this, broadly speaking, to show humankind that the way of sin does not end well; the contrast between God’s way and man’s way under Satan’s influence is stark, with one ending in life while the other in death.
While debating with Greek philosophers of his day, the apostle Paul eloquently described how God expects all people (and by extension, nations) to listen to Him now, since we have the example of Jesus and the Bible to guide us: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). While Paul was specifically addressing the Greeks’ worship of many different idols, the underlying message remains the same: God will not overlook forever man’s ignorance of what’s good, right and acceptable.
So the pandemic, whether specifically caused by God or not, is a tool He will use to bring about His purpose. Ultimately, every person should choose to respond to it by acknowledging Him and changing.
Compass Check Magazine