God is Judging Us. Someday We’ll Get Hit With Something Worse Than the Virus
Today, May 20th, begins Phase One in the reopening of the State of Connecticut, after more than two months of a coronavirus lockdown. Coincidentally, the Old Testament reading in the Bible in a Year for May 20th is 2 Samuel 23-24, which includes a plague as a punishment from God.
“So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time; and there died of the people from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men.” Then, at the instruction of a prophet, King David builds an altar and makes offerings to God. “So the LORD heeded supplications for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.”
God does similar things all through the Bible. I wrote about this a couple weeks ago. This is why I was so struck by the reticence to discuss — nay, outright denial — that God may be doing it right now.
A Missed Opportunity
He acts this way never or rarely, it was said. One must distinguish between God’s active and passive will. Others have suffered worse and we only think it’s apocalyptic when it’s our land. We only ascribe Divine wrath to the sins of which we are not guilty and not our own sins.
Some of these arguments were better than others. What they all had in common was a desire that it not be so. And a shutting of our eyes to the fact that God does do this sometimes, perhaps more often than systematic theology will admit. (Someone once joked that God does things in the Bible that a systematic theologian would never allow him to do.)
But I think, as we are nearing the end of what may be the worst of the coronavirus plague, our lack of interest in, or dismissal of, the possibility of Divine Wrath, was a missed opportunity with potentially grave consequences.
At the start of it all, I poohed-poohed liberals for putting their trust in The Great Whatever. But we conservatives have our own Great Whatevers, our own idols that distract us from focusing on God’s will.
My Catholic newsfeed was far less interested in discerning God’s will than in complaining about the bishops temporarily suspending Mass. My conservative newsfeed was obsessed with a “plandemic,” with how the whole thing, or large parts of it, was a hoax perpetrated for evil ends.
It was not that I disagreed. It was that some people’s focus on these things was disproportionate. They missed the biggest Coronavirus story of all.
There is a plague on our land because we have sinned. We need to repent.
But there is little public effort in that regard, certainly not in comparison to our complaints about the bishops or plandemics. No altar like David’s. No Psalm 51.
When 9/11 hit, I immediately saw that as God’s wrath too. Not in the crude sense that Jerry Falwell did. Mindful of Jesus’ admonition about the men who died when the tower fell on them, I’m not pointing fingers at any one person. But we know, from the Old Testament to Our Lady of Fatima, that war is a punishment for our sins. And that good and bad alike may be among the casualties, as when the Spanish Influenza took the lives of two of the three Fatima visionaries.
Our response in the years since 9/11 has been to dig in our heels against God even more, as I said at the time of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Consequently, I’ve suspected for nearly twenty years now that someday we would be hit by something bigger than 9/11, something that would make 9/11 look like a walk in the park.
In terms of mass casualties and economic destruction, coronavirus is it. And still no repentance. Just the usual distractions, some tailor-made for the Left, others for the Right.
We Will Return, and We Shouldn’t
Regardless of whatever course the current pandemic takes, coronavirus will be behind us at some point. We will, as much as possible, return to the way things were before it hit us.
Which is a shame. Because someday we are going to get hit with something that will make the coronavirus look like a walk in the park.
God help us now. God help us repent.
Peter Wolfgang is president of Family Institute of Connecticut Action. He lives in Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife and their seven children. The views expressed on The Stream are solely his own.