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Are these troubles a warning from God?
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As 2020 drags on, new crises seem to emerge every month. In addition to COVID and fires, there's the crisis of political instability and economic collapse, even in the United States. What new troubles await us during the last few months of the year, and will it come to an end? Are these times a warning to the wise?
Is 2020 a warning?
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - It's hard not to feel a little apocalyptic when watching the news. Fires around the world make formerly idyllic places look like a vision of hell. Meanwhile, city streets are filled with vacant stores, people in masks, and those who cast onto the streets by misfortune. Protests are spawning riots in some places, and the political future of many nations, including the United States, seems to hang in the balance between chaos and stability. Is it going to get better, or are these the end times?
The fact is, these are warnings. God does not cause disasters to befall humanity, but He does permit them. To be God is to be like an observer of an accident from a distance. From His vantage point, He can see the errors we are making and He can foresee the calamity about to ensue, much like an observer can watch two cars on a collision course speeding into an intersection.
This is what happens when we fail to heed warnings. Not only has God warned us of the consequences of godlessness and of exploiting nature and our neighbors, but experts have warned us too. Environmental experts have warned for a long time that human mismanagement of the environment will lead to great calamities, and surely we see fires, storms and floods that are more extreme than ever witnessed before. Experts have also warned that exploitation of others will lead to civil unrest. We've been warned that political corruption will rot our institutions just as immorality will destroy our families and our homes. And now all these things are coming to pass in a single year.
It is right to see the disasters in the world around us as warnings. And when properly understood, we can see they are corrections, invitations for us to repent and seek God's grace. A chance to do better.
Perhaps the chaos is here to teach us a lesson. Maybe missing out on Mass due to COVID will help us to appreciate Mass and the grace we receive from it. Perhaps the ecological crisis will teach us to value nature and appreciate our role as stewards. Possibly we will learn from the civil unrest that it's far better to treat one another justly than to rebuild cities following chaos and riots.
By turning to God, by converting our hearts back to Christ, we will allow God to turn our evil into good. This is what God always does with evil. He turns it to good. But it does require that we listen and repent of our sinful ways. This does not mean we must repent as a nation only. It means we must repent as individuals first. Only when we have sought pardon for our sins as individuals can we seek the pardon of the greater whole.
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