Can Good Come From Bad?
In a recent Bible teaching (via Zoom), I quoted Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose;” to which I was blessed with the question: “What good can come out of COVID-19?”
An excellent question—and one that perplexes many devoted believers.
We know that bad things can happen to good people. God didn’t promise us a rose garden. Quite the contrary. And this is evidenced by the fact that He devotes so much space in scripture to addressing the issue of our persevering through trials of many kinds. They happen. They don’t surprise us. But God can turn disaster into good for our benefit. He says so in Romans 8:28.
Let’s consider the question at hand: “What good can come out of COVID-19?”
My thoughts immediately turn to the attitude changes I’ve witnessed in my own life during these months of quarantine due to the virus. First and foremost, I have become much more conscious of a pressing need for good hygiene.
Hand-washing. Not just washing before eating and after handling something unclean, but after venturing from the house, touching doorknobs, steering wheels, and just about anything that has been touched by people.
I also appreciate the use of facial masks, especially the covering of nose and mouth by anyone I cross in public. I find myself feeling that a person with a mask is someone who cares about others more than themselves. It’s the little things.
Staying Distant, and Finding the Good in things
Social distancing. It’s so automatic to most of us by now. We don’t see it as an act of avoidance or even rudeness; again, it’s a sign that the person who stands six feet away is someone that has your best interests at heart. They care. And it’s nice to see people looking out for others, even strangers. COVID has made this happen.
The first chapter of James’ epistle tells us the testing of our faith develops perseverance. The flip-side is true as well: persevering through difficult times gives proof to the magnitude of our faith. As our faith holds strong during one trial, it becomes better equipped to handle the one coming down the pike. As mentioned previously, trials will come—temptations, persecutions, conflict—they are all a part of life. Our faith must continually be increasing so that we are prepared for the next happening and not destroyed by it.
Good times are great. We’d like to have them all the time. But life without problems tends to make us complacent. We become more and more self-sufficient, eventually to the point of arrogance. Scriptures make it clear that we are not to depend on our own abilities and understanding. We are to lean on God and His strength, not our own. Tough times compel us to admit to ourselves that we cannot go it alone. They help us remember that He is our strength, our refuge, our sanctuary. The need to persevere through a pandemic brings us closer to the One in control.
You most probably could come up with dozens of “good” that you’ve observed during the special days we’re experiencing. God may have put a name on your heart and you gave that person a call to check on how they were doing. Perhaps you sent a card or delivered a thoughtful gift. Without the busy-ness of our normal activities, I’ve found myself far more attentive to the needs of others. And that’s been a real blessing. Wasn’t it Jesus who taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive!”