April 14, 2020
It’s Day I-don’t-know-anymore of our enhanced community quarantine, and to be honest, I’m still having a hard time accepting the fact that this is our new reality. There’s a part of me that hopes to wake up to a new day where things are back to normal—I’ll dress up for work, go to the office, and probably hangout with friends afterwards.
But that’s not what life looks like right now. When you check the news, you’ll find heartbreaking updates about the situation, which pulls us back into our present reality. We’re still on community quarantine, and we have but a vague idea about when all of this will be over.
I’m sure we all can’t wait to move on from this episode in our lives. Maybe most of us actually wish that this nightmare didn’t happen in the first place as it took away so much from us—it took away people’s loved ones; it separated some from their families; it forced us to live in fear and anxiety; and it definitely made us wonder what’s in store for us in the future. Simply put, this pandemic disrupted our lives, and perhaps, life will never be the same after this.
But what if there is a purpose for all of this? What if the disruptions are actually God’s redirection?
While I was thinking about these questions, I couldn’t help but remember the story of Joseph in Genesis. He was just a young boy who was living a normal life until his brothers sold him as a slave in Egypt and changed his life forever. In Egypt, when things were finally working out for him, he was falsely accused and thrown into jail.
Joseph’s life was filled with one interruption after another, but God redeemed him and placed him in a position of power. When famine came into the land, God used Joseph to save Egypt and the nations surrounding them.
When we look at the latter part of his story, we’ll see that Joseph understood the bigger picture. He saw God’s purpose behind all the disruptions and miseries that happened in his life.
“As for you, 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. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
God wasn’t to blame for Joseph’s pain and suffering, but God definitely used these experiences to bring about His good plan for Joseph and for the nations.
Simply put, God didn’t waste Joseph’s pain and suffering. He turned them into good.
In the same way, this pandemic may cause us to grieve, but we can keep hoping, knowing that God will never allow us to suffer in vain. In the lens of God’s redemptive plan, He will use our pain and suffering to bring about His good plan for our lives. We can find this confidence in Christ’s redemptive work on the cross.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13,14 (NIV)
On the cross, Jesus took the punishment of our sins and exchanged it for His perfect righteousness, allowing us to experience “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 1:3). And if Jesus was able to redeem us from our past and its consequences, how much more can He turn our suffering into something good, not just for us, but also for the people around us? We may be living in painful and difficult times right now, but this is not how our story will end.
God intervenes. God redirects. God redeems.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
By faith, I believe this is how we will tell the story of how the pandemic affected us: It may have taken things from us, but God is good until the very end.