It’s amazing how our attitude affects a situation. We can go into something truly fantastic and be completely disappointed, or we can go into something absolutely awful and be pleasantly surprised, all based on our initial expectations and attitude.
Take the Star Wars movies for example. The original 3 were spectacular. Episodes 1-3 have some varied opinions attached to them. The most recent trilogy is widely criticized. Why? Because the 6 followup movies didn’t meet the expectations of the biggest fans of the first 3. None of the 6 sequels was bad (well…episode 2 isn’t great…), but when you show up to The Rise of Skywalker and expect it to be even better than Return of the Jedi, you are bound to be disappointed.
Now, to begin with, our quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and self-isolation are not good (they’re way worse than episode 2!). We miss connecting with friends and family members, we are missing out on trips and activities, and we are limited in our actions and activities. Its clear to me that some of my friends are already starting to go stir-crazy, and we aren’t half way through it yet!
But, if we choose to have a positive attitude we can see some good things come from it. Being at home with family gives us a chance at more quality time together. Having more time to fill allows us to get done with some projects, do some reading, and learn something new. Being away from certain things and certain people build a better sense of priorities and what is most important in our lives.
There are certain parts of our society that will be permanently changed by this pandemic. And that is a good thing. I think there will be even more people that work virtually from home. I think better plans will be put into place to help those in need during future crisis. And, I think the way we do church will be fundamentally changed forever. I also think the next wave of creators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and future leaders are hard at work right now, and we will see the fruits of their labors in the coming months and years. This event is a tragedy on many fronts, but there will be good in it as well.
The last part of the book of Genesis recounts the story of Joseph. Either Joseph had the worst set of brothers in the world, or he was a truly horrible brat of a little brother (or a combination of both), because the 10-on-1 sibling rivalry was so bad that the older brothers planned to kill him, and only the promise of making a few bucks by selling him as a slave changed their minds. This started Joseph down an up and (mostly) down path for the next several years, until he had risen to become the second most powerful man in the most powerful nation on the planet.
Joseph didn’t have a pandemic to deal with; he had a major, region-wide drought and famine. He had set the nation of Egypt to be secure, but outside of Egypt people were starving and dying. Joseph’s brothers made their way to Egypt to attempt to negotiate a trade in order to get some food for their very large family, but little did they know that the high official that they would have to deal with was the brother that they had sold to get rid of.
But Joseph had a different perspective: nothing happens outside of the power of God, and even evil can be used to bring about something good.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…-Genesis 50:20
We will get through this. There will be a day when we return to our daily lives, when our kids go back to school, when we go out to lunch at a restaurant, gather together again on Sunday mornings, and take our kids to play in the parks.
In the mean time, keep a positive attitude; look for the blessings, little and big, that God is giving to us even in these difficult times; and remember that He is alway in control.