“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.” Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
Joseph’s brothers sold Joseph into slavery. They were jealous of him and meant to harm him. But God turned it around on them. In His divine plan, Joseph’s life put him in a position to protect Joseph’s family and take them out of harm’s way.
God can use evil for good. He can use a global pandemic to draw people to him and bring Christians to a new appreciation for their calling within the church. He can make the Christian without a relationship with a church realize he needs one. He can make the Christian realize he needs to do more. He can make the world see the usefulness of the faithful. He can use pandemic, war, disaster, and the maliciousness of individuals for his own good.
In New York, Samaritan’s Purse has been much maligned for building a field hospital to help with relief efforts. Parts of the activist LGBT community have agitated against them. But that exposure and hate have led Samaritan’s Purse to now partner with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, an Episcopal church. The building is one of the largest church buildings in the world and it will now be used as a hospital.
In other parts of the nation, conservative evangelical churches that normally let their theological liberal brethren handle social justice concerns are now stepping up to provide charitable relief for their communities — tending to bodies and souls. A friend reports that in his part of California, a local evangelical church is working remotely and collaboratively among congregants to feed their neighbors in need, something they have never done.
In Atlanta, a local church is helping its congregation cover their living expenses. In south Georgia, a local church has stepped up to help cover people’s medical costs. These are not the churches you would normally think of as doing that. But they are now engaging in their local community in ways they never have before. The media highlights to goofy and crass people who embarass the faith, while so many Christians are engaged in a sweat equity gospel right now showing the love of Christ to so many.
In Australia, Cardinal Pell has been released from prison and acquitted of charges of abusing two boys in the 90s. I am not Catholic but have long admired Cardinal Pell from afar and the allegations against him, which came after he began digging deep into the financial accounts of the Vatican Bank, seemed completely out of character. The Australian Supreme Court has now thrown out his case due to substantial inconsistencies in the evidence that should have raised reasonable doubt. Who knows how God will now use Cardinal Pell, but I am intrigued to watch.
Over the weekend, progressive activists attacked me for putting a cross in my yard for Holy Week and covering it in Easter lights. I joined a number of neighbors in doing that. Others had their crosses and lights up before me. But after progressive activists attacked and Newsweek ran a story accusing me of burning a cross in my yard, other neighbors responded. There are now more than three dozen crosses all shining brightly through the night in my neighborhood. More will spring up today.
There is a ligitht that shines in the darkness. The darkness cannot overcome it. Christians have the ability to reflect that light in a fallen world. At a time of pandemic and fearfulness and fretfulness, God can use all things for good and for His glory.