"If anyone would have told me three weeks ago this would be the reality of our world's health and economic environment, I would have never believed it." said every American the past six days
What a surprising turn of events.
What a crazy whirlwind of an alternate reality.
What scary unprecedented experiences we are living through.
A month ago, had you ever heard of "social distancing?"
But, God isn't surprised.
He knew this moment of time would come before he created the world. He is not caught off guard. He is not sulking over his 401K. He is not worried about our healthcare system capacity. He is not fearful over the future.
And more so than that, I believe He will work it all for good for those who believe He will.
Like any tragedy, war, or crucifixion that has preceded this one, so much warmth, generosity and triumph shows itself. In the past five days, I've heard of story after story of humans coming together to solve crisis size issues, overcome challenges and turn business around on a dime to come alongside customers or each other to profoundly encourage results that never would have been possible three weeks ago. There is no rainbow without the rain and the sun.
Do you see the good in the bad?
"God has seen our unloveliness, the deep brokenness and rebellion in our hearts and instead of withdrawing, he pursues us to the beautiful end." Matt Chandler
Although we will never deserve God's goodness, he gives it.
In times like this it's when I see God most. Many ask "why would God allow this?" or "where is God in this?" But not me. I am always beyond excited to have a front row seat to watch God do miracles through us and to overcome evil with good. I am anchored, not in what God can do, although that's astounding, but who God is. I am anchored in his goodness.
Being anchored in the goodness of God isn’t always going to be a rational thing. It’s a stubborn, unrelenting determination not to let the hardships of life downsize the bigness of God. In fact, to me, God's goodness is supersized in times like this. It doesn't make sense to some to say in these times that God is good, but he is. It is illogical when the death rate is rising that we would say, God is love, but he is. God is in the stories of brother helping brother. God is in the moments of neighbor shopping for neighbor. God is in the living rooms of families worshipping together because our physical church campuses are closed. God is in the midst of us when we post that social media meme about praying for each other. God is in every heart who holds on to hope. He sees. He hears. He is the good in the bad.
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. Ecclesiastes 7:14
The author of Ecclesiastes is trying to understand God from a logical, rather than religious, perspective. He looks at life around him and tries to find evidence of God and guidance for how to live going forward. In this passage I think he is warning us that we can't find God's will in outer appearances. God is as present in adversity as in prosperity.
God—the same God who gives us days of prosperity—remains with us during adversity. In adversity, even though it appears dark and perhaps never-ending, He calls on us to use our faith. Solomon says in the above verse that wisdom understands God has two wills. One will is active, and the other is passive. Sometimes God does good for us, and other times God allows difficult things to happen to us. But, we need to accept that both come from God.
Look back over your life to date. Would you honestly change any of it? I know that the quick response to pain is "yes, I would change that period of hardship and I would never want to go through that again!" I get it. But would you be the strong, resilient, more wise person that you are right now had you avoided all difficulty? No, honestly, there is no way you would be.
And so will the country say after this. I pray, that we are more rooted in God's goodness, more willing to adhere to his commands, more surrendered to his sovereign power and control over us and that He will be invited back into our hearts, schools, and land. Until then, through this bad time, focus intently on the good. The hardship will pass, but the miracles that happen through us will last forever.