There has been much discussion as to whether all our struggles today are God’s judgement. We can begin to understand realizing that God’s judgement on mankind began with the original sin. In saying that we must also understand that there is much about how this world operates in it’s fallen condition that we do not know. The overlapping of the spiritual realm with our physical realm also includes many events and sins which again we do not understand or comprehend. God chose to give us a very minimal knowledge of the invisible realm.
As part of the curse we are subjected to futility in all of life from birth to death. By futility I mean all that is difficult and goes wrong. People are born with terrible birth defects, or we acquire a disease or an injury, or even if life goes well for us many things do not. We sin, we do things we later regret, and the list goes on and on.
How life would have been if Adam/Eve had not chosen to sin is only conjecture. Someone recently pointed out that the Church, the Body of Christ, you, and I disciple and spread the Gospel best when life is at it’s worse. Prosperity seldom brings about revival.
Looking back through history we can see that God has used plague and a combination of events to alter history and human behavior. This is happening today with the worldwide pandemic of Covid-19. And of course there are many other human sins and frailties that are compounded into this upheaval. But this is an academic observation.
In real life right now people are suffering and dying nor only from Covid-19 but from suicide and a long list of other things. There was much that was dysfunctional before the pandemic and it has only worsened. Now of course I am looking at all of this from a human viewpoint, a viewpoint that is extremely limited.
In contrast God the father, Christ Jesus and the Person of the Holy Spirit can see what came before and what lies ahead. They are all at work, we know this. Yet our sin nature clouds our perceptions.
Revelation helps us to see that all the wars, famines, diseases, hurricanes, earthquakes etc. that occur in the time between Christ’s advent and return come directly from the hand of God. The scroll with the plan of God for the ages (which includes many tribulations) is “in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne”. Revelation 5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
The trials that come with the seven trumpets fall upon the world after an angel takes a censer and fills it “with fire from the altar” and throws it down to the earth (Revelation 8:5). The angels who pour out the seven bowls come out of God’s temple and begin pouring out God’s wrath (Revelation 16:1). These events are not random acts of nature (God). They are not what we call “natural disasters” in our unbelief. They are active acts of God in our world today and in the future. There are also some indications that the spiritual battles include using weather as a tool or weapon.
We understand from for example the Book of Job that whatever influence Satan and his demon- angels have over the weather is restricted by God’s ultimate sovereignty. The Devil, Satan, the "adversary," must be taken seriously. We must acknowledge his existence and still be aware of his limited power over the secular world. In terms of time we are in the almost but not yet in which Satan is a defeated fallen angel, is super-human but not divine, having only the power that God ultimately allows (2 Thessalonians 2:6-11). As we look at Job’s life, we know that yes, our life could be tied up in some larger motif of sin and rebellion. None of us are innocent bystanders, we are sinners complicit in sin against God.
Yes, judgement is upon us as individuals and as a nation who has forgotten God. That cannot be denied.
My point is that the world God has placed us in is dangerous to humans, mostly by virtue of our sin nature and the futility that has permeated the world as a result. We then as believers see that we too must go through almost all the exact same trials and tribulations as unbelievers, these sufferings and adversities cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. These trials come from the hand of God, who is at work during them keeping his children near to himself. Without this knowledge, these trials would surely overwhelm us.
How God takes all the evil we perpetrate and turns it into good we will not know this side of heaven.
The Book of Revelation shows us that God has not abandoned us to our sin and death but reminds us that the day of salvation draws nearer and nearer. We can understand that all the troubles pain and sorrow we must endure are part of the Lord’s perfect and loving plan for us, a plan that brings all the glory to God. Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Our call to action right now is to be faithful, repent daily, pray daily, read scripture daily. Be humble and turn to serving others and not ourselves. Cry out to God, lament to him. Do not become caught up in the spirt of division that has captured so many today. Be in this world not of it!
You and I in this current tribulation need to understand that at some point in our future we will see Christ face to face and “he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” Revelation 21:4.