One final principle that we can learn from the biblical truths considered earlier in this chapter is this: If God is actively judging sinners in hopes that they will soften their hearts, we should expect that some sinners, after enduring God’s judgment or observing others endure it, will be softening their hearts. Thus after calamities there are opportunities to reach people who were previously unreachable.
Christians should look for opportunities to share the gospel in places where people are suffering. Those who have recently lost loved ones, for example, may well be more open to what God wants them to hear. When I served as a pastor, I always seized the opportunity to proclaim the gospel at funerals, remembering that Scripture says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart (Eccl. 7:2, emphasis added).
When people suffer from sickness, financial loss, broken relationships, natural disasters and the many consequences of sin and judgments upon sin, they need to know that their sufferings are a wake up call. Through temporal sufferings God is trying to save sinners from eternal judgment.