We are now moving into the second month of this pandemic. The effects of it have been challenging in some places, tragic in others. While I do not want to mitigate in any way the sufferings that some have endured, I do think there is another side. There is a rather large silver lining to this blackened cloud. So again we have a choice with the Coronavirus: finding the good or focusing on the bad. The list that follows suggests some of the good that is happening. Some I have experienced, others I have heard from friends, and still others have come to me through reading and the news.
The Good That Is Happening
- With shelter-at-home orders in place for many, married couples are spending more time together, working through parenting issues or just life together. Communication has sharpened as a result.
- Families are experiencing the pandemic together, creating opportunities to talk about their deeper feelings as well as how God might be involved in this.
- Because pastors can no longer hold church services, the focus has shifted to home community groups. Even though these groups still have to meet online, there is more desire for connecting, more mutual concern, and more bearing of burdens. It’s good to remember that the early church thrived in homes.
- While some are overworked because of their role in helping to treat the Coronavirus, many have more margin than ever in their lives. There is space to spend more time in silence with God, resting and reflecting. I like to call it an enforced Sabbath!
- People are out walking the streets, allowing for interactions with neighbors that are more common and frequent than ever. Some have met their neighbors for the first time.
- You see it in ads, in the media, and in the conversations. There is a spoken sense of togetherness in the suffering. The desire for unity is wired into the human heart by God. But it often takes suffering to make this happen in an impressionable way.
- Viruses, in and of themselves, are actually good. Without viruses, our planet would be one huge blob of bacteria. Viruses keep bacteria in check and allow multi-cellular life forms to grow and thrive. For more on this point, click here for a post from my favorite science/faith website, Reasons to Believe.
- There have been many reports of sacrificial giving and acts of mercy during this time. Some are making masks to give away, others are raising money for needed food and supplies, and still others are reaching out to help those who are most vulnerable to this virus.
- There have also been reports of the heroic sacrifices that those in the medical community have made, whether it’s working long hours or risking their lives to treat patients with the Coronavirus.
- Because the reality of death is starkly visible, it has caused some to ask ultimate questions, rather than living life on the surface. The search for God often starts here — in the midst of suffering and death.
This is just a starter list. I know there are more out there. If you can think of others, please make a comment. I would love to hear your ideas.
The Greatest Good out of the Greatest Evil
The possibility of finding good in what appears to be evil during this time is intriguing. But this is just a microcosm of a much more panoramic historical event. If Jesus is who He said He was, then His crucifixion was the most egregious evil ever perpetrated by the human race. God became a man and lived a life of ceaseless compassion, forgiveness, justice, and love. Jesus used all of His power only for the good of others. And the response to such a life? He was cruelly betrayed, unjustly tried, savagely beaten, and brutally spiked to a cross, perhaps the most torturous way the human race has ever created to kill someone.
And yet…and yet, out of such unspeakable evil, an immeasurable good came — yes, even the greatest good in all of history: the redemption of our race, the salvation of our souls, the healing of our wounds, and the cleansing of our sin and shame. In Jesus, we are not just given all of these gifts, we are given the greatest gift of all. God now gives us Himself, radiating out from our inner core.
If the greatest good can come out of the greatest evil, then we can look with hope to any lesser evils, knowing that we can find good there as well. This pandemic is another case in point.
So today, lift up your eyes and hearts in hope. He is here, working in the midst of this crisis, laboring to bring good to you. For He longs to be gracious to you (Is. 30:18).