Is there a single passage from Scripture that explains chastisement — how and why, as we so often see prophesied, God punishes nations?
As it turns out, there is, in 2 Maccabees (12-17):
“Now I beg those who read this book not to be disheartened by these misfortunes, but to consider that these chastisements were meant not for the ruin but for the correction of our nation,” it states.
“It is, in fact, a sign of great kindness to punish sinners promptly instead of letting them go for long.
“Thus, in dealing with other nations, the Lord patiently waits until they reach the full measure of their sins before He punishes them; but with us He has decided differently, in order that He may not have to punish us more severely later, when our sins have reached their fullness.
“He never withdraws His Mercy from us. Although He disciplines us with misfortunes, He does not abandon His own people. Let these words suffice for recalling this truth…”
Is this why the foreseen chastisements have not yet hit the world in full force: the Lord is waiting for the full measure of its sins to play out — and why those in His army meanwhile suffer, yet with His protection? Is He waiting for the world to reach its nadir before He weighs out the entire course of proper purification?
If it seems like a delay, according to the passage, it is because sinfulness continues to intensify (and His signs and warnings with it).
Food for thought. For there are those in the Church, sometimes from the pulpit, who deign to proclaim that God does not chastise — that He is too kind for any such thing. This passage is one of many that shows the opposite, none show it so succinctly and clearly.