How could COVID-19 be a gift?
To most this sounds incredulous. How could anything that causes pain and suffering be considered a gift? I do not write this from a place of naivety and comfort. I am fully aware and fully experiencing the devastating consequences of this disease. My full-time job is on the leadership team of a non-profit whose cash flow has been devastated through the economic consequences of COVID-19. We are currently in the painful process of laying off hard-working, Jesus-loving, servant-hearted employees. My own job is in jeopardy. Please believe me, I feel the pain! But I have learned throughout my life that pain is a gift.
In my book Your Last 24: Preparing for the Inevitable (The Legacy Series Book 1),
I reference the writings of Dr. Paul Brand, a medical doctor, who worked for nearly 20 years with leprosy patients in India. Through this experience, Dr. Brand’s view of pain changed. In his book The Gift of Pain written with Philip Yancey, Dr. Brand makes the following statement (which I have slightly edited):
Previously I had thought of pain as a blemish of creation, God’s one great mistake. [But I’ve discovered that] pain stands out as an extraordinary feat of engineering valuable beyond measure. –The Gift of Pain
Could pain really be a gift?
If you want to learn more about what led Dr. Brand to this conclusion, I highly recommend finding a copy of his book. I also share a few of his stories in my own book. But without reiterating all of that here, I will share a thought from ancient literature which I believe with all my heart:
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV
Could it be, that this COVID-19 “fireball” as some have called it, is an opportunity for our faith to be proved genuine?
None of us know the future, but we never have.
Could COVID-19 be a gift which removes the blinders from our eyes and reveals our previous naivety and trust in temporal pleasures rather than in eternal values?
Could it be that we need these occasional reminders that this world is not our home?