How Does God Use Adversity

COVID-19 has caused spiritual and unspiritual persons alike to muse over the mystery of its meaning. Let’s join them herein.

History is a matchless teacher. Knowing what has happened, and why can help our understanding of what is happening —- and why. This brings a spiritual component into the equation.

The Hebrew and Greek words for pestilence (pandemic) appear 127 times in the Bible. God is not only a God of miracles, He is also a God of mystery. We can never unravel all of His mysteries. The history of His use of adversity to achieve His sovereign purpose in the future is a mystery. Some concepts are so far beyond our capacity to understand, we must at times embrace living without an answer. Don’t be surprised when the “freight train” of the unknowable runs over you. It does everyone at some point.

It has been suggested there are three reasons for a loving God’s use of adversity. They are:

It is to execute divine judgment on an individual, nation, or nations for chronic, unrepentant sin. Admittedly there are sins by individuals and our nation.

It is to warn other individuals and nations that they, too, could face divine judgment for chronic, unrepentant sin.

It is to shake an individual, nation, or many nations so that they will wake up from spiritual slumber or rebellion, repent of their sins, and turn in faith to a personal, healthy relationship with God.

Parenthetically, innocent people often suffer adversity because they are part of a rebellious nation, and the good suffer with the bad.

Over and over in Scripture God explains that in His mercy He will shake individuals and nations in His effort to gain their attention and draw them to Him that He might bless them. Often God has to change things around us in order to change things within us.

The question: is it working? If not, we are missing the chance for a better life-style, and the inherent blessings in the COVID-19. Are we as individuals and as a nation responding affirmatively to His shaking?

Dr. Darrell Bock, theologian and professor at Dallas Theological Seminary notes, “Plagues are a way that God seeks to get our attention about our finitude and morality, as well as how we are giving attention to God. They are an opportunity for reflection about how we live and a reminder we are not gods ourselves.”

God doesn’t really want to make life hard for us. He explains that if you do “this” (His will) you will get “that” (His blessings), and if you do “that” (disobey His) you will get “this” (discipline). The problem arises when what we want to do “that” (disobey Him), and get “this” (His blessings). Fix it as a stele in your mind to remind you, it does not work that way. For multiple millennia millions have tried and the principle is inflexible.

Which of the three reasons for COVID-19 mentioned herein do you think is at play in your life and the life of our nation?

Live mindful that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…” Psalm 46:1-3. Don’t run from Him, run to Him. Don’t ask why, ask how. How can this be used as a blessing for you? The answer may be deferred, but it is definite.