Though the Corona Virus has caused immeasurable pain and suffering, can it also be good? Does COVID-19 have a moral benefit? Yes. Trials are good because suffering always teaches us something about the nature of God, our sin, or the world. Thomas Brooks:
“The humble soul sees the rod in his Father’s hand; but also the honey on the top of every twig. He sees sugar at the bottom of the bitterest cup, and knows that God’s house of correction is a school of instruction.”
So if trials are a school of instruction and Corona is a trial, what is it that God wants to teach us? What is the light at the end of the Corona tunnel? What good comes from death, gutted retirement funds, and cancelled activities?
Scriptures gives us dozens of ways why suffering is good. Here is one example. Trials help us see God as sovereign over all things.
THE EXAMPLE OF JOB
When a storm killed Job’s children and sickness stole Job’s health and evil men stole Job’s wealth, this man of old said: “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away” (Job. 1:21). It wasn’t fluke tornados or pagan militia that stole Job’s pleasures. The Lord has taken away. Job went directly to first causes. God may have used whirlwinds, boils and Chaldeans as the active agents, but God was over all of it.
The cue ball God uses to strike us into debt, despair or sickness may be a car accident, a dishonest banker, an unfaithful spouse, or the consequences of our own sin. He may use Corona. But whatever the cue ball is, God is there aiming and striking with his stick, full of sovereignty and free from evil.
IT IS GOD THAT STRIKES
The idea that God strikes with harm is anathema in our world today but indisputable from Scripture. Who made the newborn blind, death and mute? God (Ex. 4:11). Who brought the ten plagues upon Egypt? God (Ex. 9:14). Who struck Israel with disease and inflammation? God (Dt. 28:22). Who struck a heathen land with plagues of tumors? God (1Sm. 5:6). Who sent a deadly illness to David’s infant? God (2Sm. 12:15). Who struck the President with leprosy? God (2Kings 15:5). Who brought famine? God (Ps. 105:16). Who brings prosperity and hard times? God (Ecc. 7:14). Who has wounded sinners cruelly? God (Jer. 30:14-15). Who pushed Jesus into the wilderness? God (Mk. 1:12). Who gives the privilege to suffer? God (Phil. 1:29).
The corona virus, despite all the evil and suffering it brings, is still good because trials carry so much good for both the Christian and non-Christian. One of the benefits is that suffering helps us see God’s sovereign control over all things.
As one of the great Puritans said, we must acknowledge him as the author in all our afflictions. When afflictions arrest us, we shall murmur and grumble and struggle until we see that it is God that strikes.