what was intended for evil.

Hello from quarantine! Do I even need to say that we are living in crazy times?! WHY, Coronavirus, why? Why?

I come into this post feeling such a mix of emotions: anxiety about the unknown, concern for those suffering, comfort from being ‘safe’ in my own home, and the list goes on. I have no idea what emotion is winning out in your heart as you read these words, but I do know that no matter the circumstances, no matter how we feel, God is in control.

Some of us are asking how God could allow this to happen, and while His ways are higher than ours and I won’t pretend to know God’s every intention, it’s easy to see that this goes all the way back to when Eve took a bite out of the apple. From that moment, we lived in a world separated from God, but still with His presence. And what we absolutely CANNOT forget, is that this world still has His presence. Can you imagine a world without it? We think this is bad – what if there was NO goodness around us? His presence is the only reason that any semblance of good is left for us in this life. One day, because of Jesus and His sacrifice, God will return and make all things right. But that day is not today, and so here we are: watching so many in this world perish. It’s devastating, but it does not surprise God. He mourns with us, but He is not surprised. He created our emotions, but He did not design our emotions to serve as our own god.

As I’ve really grappled with the “why” of COVID-19, I’ve been reminded over and over in prayer that God works in ways that our human minds could never fathom. He is always after our hearts, and yet graciously provides our daily bread. But let me ask you, straight up: how often do you feel your need for God when life is comfortable and happy-go-lucky? Personally, these are my hardest seasons to understand my need for God. It’s when my plans go awry, when I feel like I’ve lost control, that I find myself running to God, hands open, asking for Him to take control. I believe that this is the world’s glaringly obvious opportunity to realize that God is in control and He is mighty – but He also loves us beyond all measure. He calls us His children. He literally put His Son on a cross so that we could have life. In our customized, comfortable world, I can see how it’s easy to forget this. But when the entire world is in turmoil, when sickness and death are knocking at our door, I don’t know how any of us get by without asking who is in control. It’s clearly not us.

This is our moment, world. If you’re a Christian, it’s your moment to show others the hope that is offered them in Christ. If you’re not, this is your moment to ask. God designed you to be in relationship with Him, and when you seek, you will find Him. (If you’re looking for a place to start, you’re welcome to join our online church services at 10am on Sundays here, or listen to previous sermons here.)

Taking this a step further, let’s not waste our time in quarantine. I have to remind myself of this so often, because most weekdays I feel like I’m going to pull my hair out from balancing a toddler and working full-time at home, but it is such a blessing to get to be at home with my family every day. We may never get so much dedicated, intentional time together ever again. And it has made me wonder: is God using this time to save marriages? To strengthen His children? To pluck us out of the exhausting everyday grind and show us a more peaceful life? There are so many things He is doing that we can’t see, but they are all for our good. And we have to hold tightly to that.

Please don’t let my insistence that God is for us take away from the very real, raw pain that some of you are experiencing as this virus hits close to home for you. I have to imagine that several of you reading this know someone who has been impacted, or have been impacted yourselves. Your pain is real, and God does not expect you to shove that down and put a fake smile on your face. He meets us in our pain. He sees you in yours.

As we battle the everyday panic, I come here today as a friend, doing my best to take this horrible, truly life-altering disease and turn it on its head, knowing that God makes all things work together for our good. May we never lose sight of eternity for what is light and momentary. What is intended for evil, God will use for good.

Keep running the race, friends.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

– Genesis 50:20

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