5 Good Things God Might Bring from COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is bad. This deadly virus is preying on the most vulnerable among us, wreaking havoc on people’s lives, and jeopardizing the world’s economy. And yet, from this great evil, God may just bring greater good.
“You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” (Genesis 50:20 CSB)
In 121 characters—what would be a brief tweet—Joseph provides us with one of the most beautiful and important verses about God’s sovereignty and how God can bring good from anything—even evil. What Joseph’s brothers did was evil, but God is not stymied in His pursuit of bringing glory to Himself and good to His people by anything, including evil. It’s a message that we need to take to heart always, but even more so now in the confusing days we are in.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to march its way across the globe, leaving dead, sick, bewildered, confused, frightened, and unemployed people in its wake. This should go without saying, but there is nothing good about COVID-19 in and of itself. It is evil—it is contrary to God’s design, a result of sin’s impact on the world. But as we see in the last quarter of the Book of Genesis and even more clearly on the cross, God is capable of bringing good out of even the greatest evil. COVID-19 is no match for God’s glory. Here are five ways God might bring incredible good from the incredible bad of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to slow down. This is perhaps the first opportunity we have begun to see. We are all spending a lot more time at home and many of life’s usual distractions have vanished—sports, entertainment, etc. The result is that we have been forced to slow down. While this is a struggle for many people right now, we need to pray that we take advantage of this opportunity and learn from it. We are all too busy. Life is too fast. We multitask too much. Perhaps we are now seeing that life should be less of a brisk race and more of a leisurely walk because a virus has hit the brakes on each of our lives.
- COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to reconsider priorities. While people have hoarded toilet paper, it has been encouraging to see sacrifice displayed even more. Remember that sheltering in place is not because COVID-19 is highly lethal for everyone, but rather for the most vulnerable among us. We are sheltering not for our good, but for the good of others. And that is beautiful. We have seen generosity—people and businesses sharing abundantly. And social distancing has helped even the staunchest of introverts appreciate relationships as never before. Needing a global pandemic to help us reconsider our priorities—what really matters—might be extreme, but what an important lesson we are learning.
- COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to innovate ministry. Remember when ministry was consistent—reliable—comfortable? Not any more. COVID-19 has forced us all to innovate new ways to minister. We are all scrambling for ways to care for kids, and to continue teaching God’s Word. It’s still early, but as days stretch into weeks of not being able to gather and weeks potentially stretch into months, we will need to innovate even more, such as ways to baptize new believers and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Is this challenging? Sure. Is it difficult? You bet. But is it good? Without a doubt. Some of us may have been too comfortable before. Some of us may have been stale. Some of us may have wanted to innovate but we were too busy or too afraid to even try. But now, we have not just been allowed to innovate and get creative, we have been forced to. And that’s good.
- COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to strengthen families. We all know that kids ministry is vital, but family discipleship is more so. We know that God has designed the home to be the primary arena for discipleship. And we want it to be. We want to help families make it that. But, again, because of the frantic pace of ministry, most of us have not been able to prioritize family discipleship. We have given it our leftovers. Not today. Now this gets our first fruits. And we are already seeing family discipleship begin to thrive. Both the home and the church will be stronger when this is all said and done. Thanks to a virus.
- COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to develop leaders. There will be a day when “normal” returns. Sure, because of innovation, normal will not be quite like what it was before. It shouldn’t be. But kids ministry after COVID-19 will look more like it did before COVID-19 than it does now during COVID-19. Our programs and events will get back up and running. And what will they all need—what do we tend to struggle with the most in kids ministry? That’s right, leaders. We have too few leaders and those we have are often worn out. Not only are our leaders getting a rest, have you thought about what else is going on right this moment? As families amp up discipleship, many using the curriculum resources that normally are used by teachers, we are giving dads and moms, grandfathers and grandmothers, guardians and older siblings experience, and, may we pray, passion for kids ministry. People who have not served are learning to serve and even growing in desire to serve. What a gift! Right now, kids ministers need to be lining up our “asks” and preparing new leader training for when this is all over. God willing, we will see a shower of prepared, enthusiastic new leaders jump into ministry with joy, wanting to continue what they have been doing in the home during a pandemic.
COVID-19, we will rejoice when you are gone, but may we rejoice more in how God might advance the gospel through you.
Brian Dembowczyk is the managing editor for The Gospel Project. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to Lifeway. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his family live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.