In the present Pandemic situation, people frequently ask “Why is God punishing this world?” Some people think that the wrath of God is upon the earth and some take this as a sign for the second coming of Jesus as a Judge.
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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.John 3:16-17
These verses portray the love of God and it clearly states that God did not send His son to condemn the world. In this era, the grace of God is prevailing on earth and the judgement and destruction will come only towards the end, that is, only during Jesus’ second coming. Till then, God is patiently waiting for the people to repent and turn from their wicked ways.
To derive one of the probable reasons for today’s pandemic, we should go back to Elijah’s reaction to the sinners of his time. Unable to bear their wickedness, Elijah stopped the rain for a few years by swearing in God’s name. In his anger, he did not realize that the drought will affect him too.
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”1 Kings 17:1
For this reason, King Ahab called Elijah as a trouble maker (1 King 18:17). We might also be labeling someone as a trouble maker, deeming them responsible for the pandemic. Elijah defended himself and answered Ahab that the cause for the trouble is Ahab’s disobedience. God too is answering our doubts with regards to the cause for the pandemic in the following verses.
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.Isaiah 59:1-2
When Elijah himself was affected by the drought, God took care of him. Like Elijah, we too are obsessed with the wickedness of our fellow citizens and unknowingly look forward to a time when they fall. This is totally against the will of God, who sent His Son to save the sinners. To accomplish the purpose of His coming into this world, He asks us to love our enemies.
Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.Proverbs 24:1-2
There are some differences between Elijah’s approach and our approach. Elijah hated the people of his time because they hated God’s precepts. We hate our fellow citizens because they are flourishing through wicked means, while we struggle, in spite of our straight-forwardness. This shows how much we long to flourish through sinful ways. We often doubt the integrity of God by seeing the lives of the wicked people.
This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.Psalm 73:12-14
When our minds are filled with doubts and envy, our hearts curse the wicked and we expect something bad to happen in their lives. The thoughts of our hearts are answered by God because He promised His people that He will fulfill their heart’s desire (Psalm 20:4 and Psalm 37:4). The present pandemic might be an answer to our heart’s desires. Prayer is nothing but the desires of our hearts. This situation was clearly foretold and explained by Jesus.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:12-14
While some might think that this pandemic is a sign for the second coming of Christ, the prayers being offered to secure the perishing souls of wicked people dying in this pandemic are indeed the signs of His second coming.
Jesus knew that this situation will come but He expects His people to pray for the salvation of the sinners. Preaching the Gospel includes practicing the laws of Jesus Christ, such as loving our neighbors, enemies and unceasingly praying that no soul should perish.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.Ezekiel 37:10
If we are still unable to believe that everyone in this world is going to stand on the promises of God as His army, let us invite Jesus into our hearts today. Let Jesus Himself pray for us, as we do not know what and how to pray. Holy Spirit, dwelling in us will pray fervently with groaning, while claiming the prophetical word of God. And when we speak His word as God has commanded, then the things will come to pass.