For in the wake of the disease and the shut down that accompanied it, we have been forced to confront all the sources of security and safety that we have held for ourselves. These idols – idols of our financial system, our jobs, our government institutions, our entertainment and comfort, our personal control and power – we have seen them topple one by one. And we have been left to confront our own hearts, seeing clearly the places where we have put our hope, security, and identity.
What good will God bring out of COVID-19?
This is a fair question to ask, and one to even anticipate. Joseph, at the tail end of his life, having experienced all manner of disappointments, accusations, oppression, and despair, reflected the truth that God does indeed bring good even out of the worst things. When speaking to his brothers who were the instigators of the events that turned Joseph’s life upside down, he wisely noted:
“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people” (Gen. 50:19-20).
God can – and does – bring good from evil. Of course, that’s not the same thing as saying that an event is good in and of itself. COVID-19 and all the sickness, death, and societal upheaval it has brought is not good. But God brings good from what was a bad thing. It’s a right thing for those two things to exist side by side in our mindset – that a thing can be bad, and that God can bring good from it.