What Art Has Told us About Plagues

In this understanding of the plague, the apocalypse is laid on for humanity’s ultimate benefit, so that we can learn the error of our ways and fulfill the divine will by living a true Christian life.

Screw that, John. That you could approve of such obscenely perverted thinking is truly beyond me. God can take his divine will and stick it where the sun don't shine.
but with affliction, we may correct our steps

I myself need to…
the error of our ways is the cause of such disaster or personal afflictions

BS! That sounds like the far right-wing morons that blame earthquakes or 911 or the current pandemic on atheists, homosexuals, Muslims, Jews, etc... One expected such reactionary thinking with the Black Death resulting in the "bonfire of the vanities" but one doesn't expect such today.
My two favorite plague-inspired paintings are il Trionfo della morte, an anonymous painting from Palermo c. 1446:


... and Breugel's Triumph of Death:

The numbers may be closer than you think. A quick search finds deaths from the Plague estimated at between 75-200 Million while estimates on religious wars are 195 Million. But what of Smallpox? That adds over another 500 Million... 300 MIllion in the 20th century alone! Then you have the millions of deaths from Influenza including the Spanish Influenza of 1918. And then there is Malaria. In 2017... the most recent year with statistics... over 445,000-620,000 died from Malaria. Estimates suggest that 1% of everyone who ever lived died from Malaria. This would bring the Maria death toll to over 1 Billion. The mosquito remains the most deadly creature on earth today... even above Humans, who rank second.
William Butler Yeats famously argued that sex and death are the only two subject matter worthy of repeated contemplation. I tend to usually prefer the former. ;)