Someone recently asked, “Ron – things seem pretty bad with wacky weather patterns, the Coronavirus, and ridiculous politics. Is God judging us?”It is an interesting inquiry considering all that’s happening these days. But is God judging us directly? Indirectly? Or are we just suffering from the stuff that happens in a fallen world?
My response. I don’t believe that we’re under God’s direct judgment. Stuff happens. We are no longer a Christian nation as I’ve written about recently. Americans often oppose God’s ways as a people. So we can’t expect Him to intercede in our broken, rebellious world. Also, things are better than you might think. What is the basis for my answer?
Our fault. Humans rebelled against the Creator near the beginning of our time and left His provision, protection, and partnership (Genesis 3:1-21). To make sure the rebellious people and their offspring couldn’t live forever, He removed their access from the Tree of Life by kicking them out of the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24). Human death then became a thing, as did perpetual human rebellion and trouble in the world not directly attributable to God.
Not God’s fault. As I presented a few weeks ago, the covenant with God requires commitments, and there are consequences for rejecting the partnership – walking away from His protection and provision or not honoring and loving as commanded (e.g., Matthew 22:34-40 and 25:31-46). Add to that the fact that evil abounds and Satan still attempts to corrupt God’s creation (1 Peter 5:8), and you’ve got quite a mess, none of which is God’s fault or direct judgment.
Not so bad. Finally, things are pretty good these days. We aren’t suffering from the mini-ice age of the 17th – 18th centuries, nor are we dying in droves from the famines and plagues that killed about half of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages. We’re not in the middle of either world war, and even the poorest people in the U.S. likely live better than most of the world’s population. And if you don’t like the state of American politics, remember that you live in a democracy and enjoy freedoms not realized by many citizens of other countries.
Hope. The good news is that God wants us back and has provided a way through the one we know as Jesus, who came from heaven, lived as a perfect human, died to pay the price for human rebellion, and was raised. Anyone devoted to God in response may suffer the things of this broken world but get something others don’t: His Spirit to guide and teach in this age and partnership in the one to come.
Next week, we’ll continue this train of thought by exploring why bad things happen to seemingly good people.
Blessings and peace,