Above the desk in my small home office is the above plaque. It was a wedding gift that has followed me for 40 years. The scripture has a provocative message in the season of Covid-19: that something good is being birthed.
At present, most of us see only the pain, the disruption, the uncertain chaos surrounding us during the pandemic. We feel only the fear and anxiety that the suffering evokes. We are trapped by endless loops of mental agitation that bounce around in our brains. We yearn for physical and emotional connections that has been stifled as our society seeks ways to stop the spread of the pandemic. We hate this disruption and we long to return to normal.
Yet St. Paul makes a radical declaration for us to consider. He states, in a matter-of-fact-way, WE KNOW that God is at work in ALL THINGS. And ALL THINGS includes a COVID-19 pandemic. And that the ALL THINGS works together for GOOD. God is not out to punish us or afflict us. God is working to bring GOOD to God’s children , TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD.
Could this chaotic, fearful, stressful, lonely time be a birthing process to something new? Some good that God wants you and I to experience in the depth of our being? A wake-up call to the reality of God’s abiding, loving presence in ALL THINGS?
Earlier in the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul writes about the groaning of new birth. We know (again that common knowledge) that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pain until now; and not only the creation, but we are ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:22-23).
God is birthing something new during this season. Something that pushes us deeper into the reality of God’s abiding love and grace. Such “knowledge” does not remove the pain and suffering, but it can bring hope and meaning as we awaken to God’s abiding purpose “to work all things together for good.”
Perhaps this is the promise of God to which we need to cling.