Believe it or not some good things can and will come from this COVID-19 pandemic.
Romans 8:28-30 (NLT2)28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT2)11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT2)6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (NLT2)5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Psalm 139:7-18 (NLT2)7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night--12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
10 Ways Coronavirus Can Change Your Life for the Better
By Sue Schlesman, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer (Scriptures and current numbers of people affected and deaths updated and added by me)
Many folks may feel that nothing good can come of an insidious virus that has already affected over 120 million people worldwide (and climbing) and caused nearly 3 million deaths to date.
We believe—or want to believe—that God takes tragedies and turns them into good. You may already know and quote Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11(see above) to comfort you during difficult times. These are good verses, with promises of God’s plan to prosper us and redeem our suffering.
However, even scripture can feel cliché and unsympathetic when delivered during a crisis.
Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and all sorts of natural disasters, and yes health emergencies, occur regularly in our world. They seem like unnecessary horrors, yet God somehow brings good from the devastation they leave behind.
Communities rally. Churches share. People seek comfort and find Jesus. And we can look for the hand of God even in the midst of coronavirus.
God Is Always Accomplishing Miracles
A worldwide virus is not an unusual way for God to work.
It’s quite possible—in fact it’s probable—that God intends to and is already accomplishing miracles in the wake of COVID-19. God values our transformation. Until we are uncomfortable, desperate, and despairing, we don’t often recognize and seek His power.
When catastrophes happen, we must consider that God is at work and longing to bring about change in us.
Since healthy change occurs collectively in body, mind, and soul, here are 10 simple ways the COVID-19 could improve your overall health and change your life for better:
1. Renewed (or New) Prayer Life
We should all pray for the virus to be contained and eradicated, and for the sick to be healed. We should hold up the grieving to feel comfort and the world’s medical staff to endure. We should also pray for hearts to change.
During crisis, we lament, request, and intercede pretty easily. But let’s not forget to confess our sins or to praise and thank God for who He is and what He does in crisis or not. God is good, He has always been good, and He always does good.
Praying from this perspective will change what you expect from God (even in a crisis) and will change how you love and worship Him.
Psalms 16:10-11 NLT For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
2. A Slower, More Peaceful Pace of Life
Does it really take canceled games, closed offices, and online school for us to realize that we are too busy? Let’s cherish the opportunity to stay home out of the rat-race. Get more sleep. Read some books.
If you can, plan your work around your day instead of your day around your work. Doing simple things you normally don’t have time for can will reveal how stressed-out and off-balance your non-virus life is.
Prioritize doing things you love and begin enjoying a slower life.
Psalms 15:1-5 NLT Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord ? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord , and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.
3. Increased Family Time
Eat your meals together. Watch movies. Play board games. Take advantage of everyone having the same schedule. This may take some adjustment and grace. Our normal family schedules are so chaotic that we are rarely home at the same times except to sleep.
Families with small children may feel the added hardship of a quarantine the most because they rely on activities to break up the day. Get creative with your backyard or make a new play-space in your house so your family time can be one of enjoyment rather than stress over germs.
Ephesians 5:15-21 NLT So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
4. Greater Empathy and Patience
It’s easy to panic, blame, or judge during a crisis. A national emergency is inconvenient. Not everyone responds to crises the same way. Let’s all hold our tongues for a moment before we respond to posts, notifications, speeches, and announcements.
Empathy dictates that I try to see the world through someone else’s perspective.
Patience dictates that I control myself so other people can process and respond at their own pace.
These two skills are difficult to groom outside of catastrophe. Let’s pause and learn them now.
Colossians 3:12-13 NLT Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
5. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Coronavirus is an invitation to stay out of many stores and public places. Reducing your time in the car, bus, or train reduces pollution everywhere. Reduced travel also creates public spaces that are friendlier, cleaner, and less stressful—not to mention, we’re all invited to enjoy more time at home.
By staying home because you have to, you might consider practicing the art of conservation. Perhaps a new habit of driving less will carry over into your life after COVID-19.
Genesis 2:15 NLT The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
6. New Outdoor Habits
This is a perfect time to begin a routine of taking walks, running in the park, kayaking, biking, sitting on your patio, or incorporating any other regular outdoor activity, as long as you practice social distancing. We all have outside settings available to us, but often we are too busy to use them regularly.
With a looser schedule, you can begin an outdoor habit that if you maintain it, will produce huge rewards for your emotional and physical health in the future.
Being outside also provides a tangible atmosphere of worship and prayer.
Proverbs 3:5-8 NLT Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
7. Adjusted Financial Priorities
Crashing stock markets and vanishing retirement funds create significant anxiety and fear. In the face of economic failure, remaining calm becomes exceedingly difficult.
However, our faltering economy gives us each a golden opportunity to examine the source of our security. To help reduce your dependency on money, pay off your debts, minimize your expenditures, and give generously.
While financial saving and planning is important, a down-turn in the economy might spotlight the influence that your financial security has over you.
Philippians 4:19 NLT And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
8. Opportunities to Catch Up
Whether it’s cleaning closets, scanning photographs, painting a room, or doing household repairs, you probably have a lot of jobs around your house that need your attention. Use this time to catch up on things you need to do but never have time to do.
You can probably make a list of 10 projects that don’t even require you leaving the house to accomplish them.
Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
9. Personal Growth
During this change of pace that coronavirus is requiring, you can choose to focus on some personal growth areas. Read, study, set up counseling. Taking care of our spiritual and emotional selves often takes a back burner to more demanding tasks.
Over the next few weeks, you might have a little extra time in your schedule to work on yourself. Take advantage of the opportunity. If you’re growing and changing emotionally and spiritually, everything around you will improve.
A positive outlook also reduces obsession over the crises at hand.
2 Timothy 2:15 NLT Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
1 Corinthians 15:30-34 NLT And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.
10. Redefined Relationships
Instead of using technology as a social escape, divide your technology time between work and intentional social connection. A quarantine reminds us how much we need meaningful, physical connection to the people we know and love.
Use your social time to FaceTime on the phone (or speak face-to-face in person), rather than engaging in endless hours of surfing social media. Practice intentional interactions for the sole purpose of love and friendliness, and focus on real conversation.
Galatians 5:22-26 NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
We’ve been offered a window to a slower life, and we should take it. Yes, we have to worry about germs and social contact. We are cognizant of a suffering and fearful world. But right now, the majority of our schedule will probably be spent in adaptations.
Why not make necessary adaptations that will benefit our lives long-term while we have cause and motive? These new perspectives and practices can continue long after the coronavirus pandemic ends.