When God punishes evil, we notice the destruction, and tend to ignore the mercy shown. When God rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, God listened to Abraham’s intercession, and saved from the overthrow three people who feared God enough to flee when they were warned.
And so it is today with God’s promised coming judgment upon the earth. He has warned us that, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:10).
In even greater mercy God tells us how we may escape: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for . . . new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (vv. 11-13).
So when wars, tsunamis, terror, earthquakes, AIDS, volcanic eruptions, crime, storms, genocide, or landslides and floods, come upon us, look for mercy mixed with judgment. In the midst of suffering may God use us to show right attitudes, and to help folks perceive hope through repentance, so that they may escape the real coming apocalypse.
“For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me” (Psalm 86:5-7).