We are not to be like horses and mules, without understanding, needing to be prodded and yanked by bits and bridles (Psalm 32:9). From now on, the summons to repentance, and the announcement of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven, come not through wars, earthquakes, famines or plagues… They come through Jesus.
So often when people look out on the world and its disasters they wonder, why God doesn’t just march in and take over. Why, they ask, does he permit it? Why doesn’t he send a thunderbolt (or perhaps something a little less like what a pagan deity might do, but still) and put things right? The answer is that God does send thunderbolts – human ones. He sends in the poor in Spirit, the meek, the mourners, the peacemakers, the hungry-for-justice people. They are the way God wants to act in his world. They are more effective than any lightning flashes or actual thunderbolts. They will use their initiative; they will see where the real needs are, and go to meet them.