All things. Yes, I did mean all things. All things work together for good.
All things? Everything?
Yes, all things. That’s what it says. Romans 8:28. You know the verse.
Even COVID-19? Lord, surely you couldn’t mean that.
Yes, yes I do. I do mean exactly that. For those who love Me, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to My purpose.
But God … how can you mean that? How can this pandemic be good?
I didn’t say it was good. I said it can work for your good. But since you’re asking Me questions, I have a question for you. It’s a really important question. The most important question anyone will ever ask you. Do you love Me?
Well …. it’s a bit complicated right now. I mean, you aren’t exactly managing things the way I would like.
Well, do you?
I think so. Sometimes. Sort of. A little bit. But I don’t like some of the things you do – or allow.
Then maybe you should spend some time with Me, and let me show you what I want to do in you through this test.
Maybe. I guess that would be a good idea. But God, can’t you just make things like normal again, and make this coronavirus go away? I don’t like tests. I don’t like upheavals. I don’t like it when I can’t control things, or when my life doesn’t work the way I think it should. And I don’t like to see people suffering.
Yes. Yes, I suppose you do know. You know my thoughts, don’t you.
Yes, I know your thoughts. But you don’t seem to know My thoughts very well. Did you know there’s another part to that verse?
Is there? Doesn’t it just say all things work together for good for those who love You?
That’s part of it. But remember that bit about being called according to My purpose?
Oh yeah. That part. So what’s that all about, anyway?
You tell me. What do you think is My purpose for you?
I dunno. A nice, easy comfortable life here on earth – after all, I’m a Christian, right? I go to church, I believe in you, I hang out with my nice Christian friends, I do good Christian stuff, and you’re supposed to protect me and my family and make sure we don’t have any trouble. After all, we’re good people. And then I get to go to heaven. But it doesn’t quite seem to be working out the way I thought. This COVID-19 thing really has me rattled.
Yes, I noticed. But did you know that you left out a couple of bits? My purpose for you is a bit bigger than you thought.
It is? I was afraid of that.
Yep. Did you know there’s a part in there about becoming like Jesus?
Really? You expect that? Nobody can be as good as Jesus. He’s special. He’s different.
Well, I didn’t say you had to do that part by yourself. You can’t make yourself like Jesus. You can’t change yourself. Especially not when you keep trying to play it safe and stay out of trouble. That’s why I’m helping you out by letting you go through some problems.
That’s supposed to help me?
Well, how else am I going to teach you to depend on Me? You spend most of your time trying to figure everything out by yourself. So I allowed the devil to stir up a problem that was too big for anyone to handle.
I have to admit, I did wonder if maybe the devil had his hand in this. But I don’t understand why you would let him do that. I still don’t see how this pandemic can lead to anything good.
You see how your leaders are trying really hard to cope, keep everyone from getting sick. And medical researchers are working really hard to find solutions, things they can use to manage this problem. They want to find a vaccine. They don’t want to have another problem like this one again. I understand that. I understand that you’re all frightened, and you just want it to end. Believe me, I feel it. I’m hearing way more prayers than usual, and most of them are full of fear. But at least they’re praying. That’s a start. But most people haven’t got a clue what this is really about.
What is it about then?
My enemy – the devil – wants to destroy you all. He always does. He hates you, and he hates Me. But I’m not going to allow that. I am letting him test you, though. To see how you’ll do. To see how many of my people – those who say they’re my people, anyway – will actually turn to Me. Did you know that’s how you become more like Jesus?
By turning to you and paying attention to you? Really? It’s that simple?
Yes, really. That’s how it works. And not just when things are hard. All the time. You have no idea how much I love you and want to see you grow up into the amazing, glorious person I intend you to become. I want you to live with Me in My perfect Kingdom that is coming, where there is no more suffering or death or pain or anything evil. But none of that can happen unless you go through some troubles. Without troubles, you won’t change, because you’d rather stay in control, you’d rather keep things safe and comfortable. The reason I allow troubles in your life is so that you’ll turn to Me and let Me have My way in your life.
Ouch. But yes, you’re right. I see that, a little bit anyway. I do want to learn to turn to You and trust You more. I’m tired of being afraid. So what should I do? How can I fix this?
You can’t fix it. That’s the whole point. But I can. I can work in you so that you’re not so anxious, so worried, so stressed. I can teach you to trust Me. I can make you more like Jesus. I can cause you to grow in love, so that you can actually help people in this crisis and not just worry about yourself. I can prepare you for My glorious Kingdom that is coming. I can do all that. But you have to pay attention to Me.
OK God. Let’s give it a go. I think that would be a good thing. My way’s not working so well.
I noticed that. Glad you’re on side. Walk with me through this.
Thank you, Lord. Please help me. Teach me Your ways.
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. 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. 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. (Romans 8:28-30 NLT)