There is no doubt that the world is under God’s judgment. It has been since the fall of man into sin. It is because of God’s forbearance that this rebellious world is not yet totally destroyed.

The pestilence that is now affecting the whole world is, among other things, a reminder that God is against man’s rebellion and rejection of His sovereign rule. It is a time for every man to weep and to mourn for his sin in order to turn away from it and to call upon the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness.

At the root of every sin is the sin of idolatry. It is the worship of another thing – be it money, career, or security – or another person, including self, instead of, or side by side with, the one true God. God will not tolerate man’s idol worship. He is a jealous God. He will shatter every god or idol we worship.

God’s forbearance is a favor shown upon the people of this world. But God is coming in His just judgment. He will inflict “vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thes. 1:8). He will judge the whole world in righteousness and justice. He will give every man what he deserves.

In speaking to the idolatrous people in Athens, Paul reminded his audience that “[t]he times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

The day of the Lord is a terrible day, much worse than what the world is experiencing right now. While we rejoice and praise the Lord for some who are now turning and returning to Him in repentance seeing the devastation around them, we still pray that many will heed the call to turn away from sin and to turn to the Creator and Ruler of the universe.

For us who put our faith in the Lord and hope in Him, we know that this plague is also the Lord’s way of purifying and sanctifying us from our remaining sin. Our heavenly Father has our good in mind in this calamity.

As His children, God loves us in Christ. And because He loves us, He disciplines us as well. Difficulties are for our good. The Lord wants us to keep on trusting Him even though He lets us go through this season of weeping and suffering.

This global disease may linger. Some of us, even our family members or relatives, may be infected by it. We pray that the Lord would spare us from it.

But even if He doesn’t, we who fear Him can still worship Him and confess with Job saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

Making Sense of God’s Judgement and the Ongoing Global Health Crisis

Vic Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.

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