Last week, we considered the biblical understanding we are to have when faced with trials of any kind. In his sovereignty, God allows his people to experience suffering, and he intends it for our good. He is like a master at the potter’s wheel who shapes and works the clay until it is formed according to his intended purpose. He removes the debris that weakens the vessel and burns away the impurities in the fire until at last his work is complete. Until we die and go to be with Christ in heaven or until he returns, we will be fashioned by the Potter. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). This is what it looks like to be in the hands of the Potter. So we must ask him in our current crisis, “What are you teaching me, God? What are you revealing about my own spiritual condition? What good is there to be found in these circumstances?”

There are a few simple things we should consider. It is a good exercise to contemplate the goodness of God. During this crisis, I have been able to spend more time with my family than ever before. There are fewer meetings, fewer reasons to be away from home, and fewer distractions. Social distancing has meant family nearness. I know this is only for a season, and I need to cherish these moments. In many ways, being home has been hard for me as a pastor. I am an extrovert, and I miss being with my people! However, in this particular trial, I have observed in people an increased eagerness to connect with others. Creative and new ways of engaging with each other have provided opportunities for meaningful, virtual interaction. I now have more conversations with my church family than before. People are eager to talk right now—pursue them!

The goodness of God can also be found in the spiritual revelations observed during this crisis. I am beginning to see certain aspects of my heart revealed. I am seeing idols exposed that I didn’t know I had. False comforts fail to offer help during this time. These things are deep good coming from the midst of a crisis. Crisis has made me pray more. We are powerless in such situations, and in our sense of powerlessness, we are more inclined to call out to the Powerful One. I am reminded that I am transient in this world and that all the treasures and comforts of this world are fleeting and will melt away in the presence of Christ at the end of all things.

One final consideration worth mentioning, though there are many more, is that the Coronavirus is a worldwide pandemic. It has become a common talking point among people all over the earth. It has touched the believer and the non-believer. It has affected every tribe, tongue, and nation. And I have found that people want to talk about it. I have found that my own neighbors (yes, 6-feet apart) are eager to answer the question, “How are you doing?” This simple question provided an opportunity to pray with my neighbor. People need hope in a crisis—they need the gospel. They need to know the love of the Father for his people. They are seeing his awesome power on display in all the world, and they need to become familiar with his unfailing love as well. What a gift to have an ordinary question create an extraordinary opportunity to share the gospel. Christian, don’t waste the crisis—it is good for your soul. And remember, “… he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Grace and peace,
Pastor Nathan