As Christians, we are not immune to being hurt by the coronavirus. We may lose people we love or face difficulties with exams being cancelled and loss of employment.
As we face the uncertainty of COVID-19 and hear all the scary news stories, it’s important to keep focusing on the solid security that we have in our Rock of Ages. God is faithful. God is good. God doesn’t change. When we think about the effects of the coronavirus, it is right to feel sad and it’s ok to grieve, but let’s remember to trust in the one who can reveal good even during bad. This doesn’t mean that he causes an awful event to happen or that he will make it disappear; rather it means that he, being God, can use a terrible situation to bring lasting good.
This is clear in scripture. Let’s consider three examples of when God brought blessing out of what appeared to be bleak circumstances.
Joseph spent years in prison after being betrayed by his own brothers and falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. Yet he was able to say:
“you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen. 50:20)
The Lord saved millions of people from starvation through Joseph being appointed to a position of leadership in Egypt. However, as a teenager sold into slavery Joseph himself could not possibly have known then the ways that good could result from his suffering.
Imagine you’re a disciple living in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion. How do you feel seeing the Messiah on a cross? What was the point of the time you spent following him? What will happen now? The death of the Lord Jesus must have upset his followers greatly. How could God allow the execution of an innocent man? It seemed so unfair, so unjust. But God knew the big picture. He achieved something truly wonderful in the horrendous events of Calvary: he reconciled us to himself. Colossians 1 makes it clear that before Jesus died, we were ‘alienated’ from God and considered his enemies. Yet he made ‘peace through the blood of his cross’ (Col. 1:20). The death of Jesus allows us to connect with the Almighty God – only he could do something like that!
When we think about the effects of the coronavirus, it is right to feel sad and it’s ok to grieve, but let’s remember to trust in the one who can reveal good even during bad.
The early disciples in the Church of God in Jerusalem faced terrible persecution, which led them to be scattered across Judea and Samaria. They witnessed the murder of Stephen and saw their brothers and sisters being dragged into prison for their Christian faith. Acts 8:2 records that devout believers “made great lamentation” when they buried Stephen. No wonder – their dear friend, such a godly man, was dead. With Saul continuing to oppress the church, many were forced to flee from their homes. What happened next? God brought good out of bad:
‘Those who were scattered went about preaching the word.’ (Acts 8:4)
The gospel spread. Many others heard about the offer of salvation. In verse 8 we read that ‘there was great joy’ in the city of Samaria when Philip shared the good news about Christ to the crowds who listened.
In Jeremiah 31:13, God made a promise to his people:
‘I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.’
As Christians, we are not immune to being hurt by the coronavirus. We may lose people we love or face difficulties with exams being cancelled and loss of employment. But we know the ultimate end of the story:
‘God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ (Rev 21:3-4)
Our God is faithful. Our God is good. Let’s cling to him.
Norma Aitken, The Church of God in Glasgow