Answered by Bryan Krumdiack. Natural disaster, wars, death, tribulation and other difficulties are a result of the fall and sin entering the world in the beginning. (Gen. 3) The apostle Paul referred to this in his letter to the Romans. He said, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Romans 8:20-23). A study of history will quickly confirm this futility that the world has been subjected to. Floods, disease, plagues, pandemics, earthquakes, the list goes on. All show the futility this world has been subjected to.
In Luke 13 some men reported to Jesus about Herod killing some Galileans. Jesus used it as an opportunity to teach about tribulation and judgement. He said, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-5). What Jesus is saying is that troubles and disasters occur in this fallen world. Those that die aren’t any more deserving of judgement than the rest of the world. He’s looking to the eternal consequences. “…But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
We don’t know the mind of God in any specific incident (Rom 11:34). We cannot know whether a specific plague or pandemic is a judgement from God for some specific cause unless God has revealed that to us in scripture. God allows sickness, disease, and pandemics for His purposes, but this is a result of the fall and sin in the World. What we do know is that God is in sovereign control of the world (Rom 11:36, Isaiah 46:9-10)), that He has called upon all men to listen to Jesus (Matt 17:5) and He uses all things for good to those that love Him (Rom 8:28).
At a time when the unbelieving world is shaken up by a new pandemic and some are searching, we should be more like Christ in Luke 13. His concern was for His audience. “…But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” This should be our message to the world around us. We should take this time of upheaval to be more bold about sharing the gospel message with our neighbors, our friends, and the world because unless they repent and believe in the one who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), they too will perish.