High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Can Any Good Come Out of This Pandemic?

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Can any good come out of this pandemic?  The pandemic obviously isn’t good for the health and well-being of the people on this planet.  But can good come out of this situation, in which we are all sacrificing in so many ways.


I’ve always been puzzled by the apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God.”  Hmm… I can think of circumstances where those who love God and who live their lives faithfully, have experienced things that have not worked out for the good.  Yet, in pondering Paul’s statement, there still seems to be truth in it.  While something might not be good in this specific moment, while bad, horrible, tragic things happen, there is a tendency of human beings to seek to bring good out of the worst situation, to bring some sort of meaning out of what is meaningless.


How much more we can do if we invite God to work together with us for that good!  A favourite scripture verse of mine, Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to God, whose power at work within us can accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, to God be the glory.”


It seems to me, therefore, that Paul’s invitation is for us, as people committed to following the Way of Jesus, to join with God in the mending and tending of the world so that good can emerge from this pandemic situation.


That leads me to ponder the question (and I invite you to do the same), what good would I like to see coming out of this experience, for myself and for the world?  What, out of my belief in a compassionate God and in the Way of Jesus, informs my perspective on what good could come out of the challenges we’re facing in the pandemic? Here are some of the things personally and for society that are evoked for me.  Some you might agree with; some you might question. I look forward to future conversations, but for now, I invite you to ponder with me: what good could come out of this pandemic?


1. Personally, I’m appreciating the fact that I get out for a long walk each day and that I have more evenings at home and more time for sewing. I love the fact that I’m stopping at 10:00 am and 10:00 pm every day to pray, not fitting prayer time in around other activities. I’m wondering how I can hold on to the goodness of this quieter time, when I move back into normal work mode.


2. I hope that we will, as a society, do a full analysis of the reasons that our senior care centres were hit so hard, and make changes to better care for our elders.  Do we need to draw senior care back into public management and do a better job of making sure that the care workers have full-time jobs and benefits, for example?


3. I wonder about a Guaranteed Annual Basic Income for every Canadian, which would relieve so much stress right now and in the coming year as we continue to journey with the coronavirus.  In places where such a guaranteed income has been tried, health, education and quality of life has improved as financial stress is relieved.  People don’t become lazy, as is feared. Instead, the stability helps individuals and families move ahead in life.


4. Does this whole situation with falling oil prices converging with the coronavirus tell us something about the need to diversify our economy?  I’m not against oil, but I wonder if this is the wake up call that we can’t depend so deeply upon it as the main resource in our province.


5. What are we learning about our impact on the environment during this time when our impact has lessened?  Dolphins and clear canals in Venice.  Less problems for those with lung diseases, such as asthma, because of reduced air pollution.  How can we hold on to this reduction of impact on our planet as a society?  What do I personally need to do?


6. How do we care better for those who are homeless, for those facing domestic violence, and for those who live with mental health challenges?  These are some of the groups who are highly impacted by this physical isolation and the spread of COVID-19.  How might we try new approaches and challenge conventional thinking, so that we really address the needs of these people?


Those are the wonderings top in my mind today.  I would hate to have gone through all of this just to go back to “normal” when we can, and then forget the needs that have been revealed through this pandemic. 


As followers of Jesus, our commitment is to care for those who are most vulnerable in society.  That is why through the centuries Christians started the first schools and hospitals, Christians have worked in prisons and among those who are poor in nations around the world.  Following the example of Jesus, we pay attention to those who are on the edges of society, and seek ways to provide support, but also to call for a society that offers more support and opportunity.


So, can good come out of this pandemic? My answer is, “Yes.”  Good can come out of this for me and my family as we take learnings from this time and carry them forward.  Good can also come for our society, if each of us raise our concerns, write our politicians, and work in every way we can to enable the changes needed.


All things can work together for God for those who love God, because God’s power, at work within us, can accomplish more than we can begin to ask for or imagine. 


Thanks be to God!

April 30, 2020          ©Susan Lukey 2020

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