Finding Good in Bad Times

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted April 22, 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of online humor. One meme reveals what appears to be a gravesite with the caption, “My wife has begun digging a garden in our backyard. She won’t tell me what she’s planting, however.”

Fortunately, it seems that the reality is quite different: “According to the survey of 2,000 British parents conducted by MumPoll, four in five parents believe their families have formed an even stronger bond since parents and kids have more time together during the lockdown.”

Twenty-eight percent of families have taken up backyard gardening and involved their children, reported. Book clubs are also on the rise, with 30 percent of families reading together. Surprisingly, the number of children spending more time on screens—whether that be television or tablet—is lower than the 50 percent of families “getting together to play board games and make puzzles.”

There are even community benefits, the survey found. “Not only have family bonds grown stronger, but community bonds have gotten stronger as well. Sixty-two percent of parents report that their children are more ‘community minded,’ with about half the kids running errands for their friends and neighbors throughout the shutdown. Nearly three in four respondents say their children are tasked with getting groceries for people in their community who are vulnerable to the coronavirus. And 53 percent have their kids picking up prescriptions for their older neighbors. Parents are happy to see that their kids are doing what they can to help out.”

Return to the Good Ol’ Days?

Although this survey took place in Britain, some of the results are likely to have been duplicated in the United States and other countries on lockdown. It could be argued that the novel coronavirus, while disrupting daily life, is also changing our society for the better in some ways.

Among the positive signs we’re seeing is a rise in community involvement, neighbors helping neighbors. As in Britain, American teens (and their parents) are fetching groceries and other essentials for the elderly or infirm. Food banks are seeing a surge in donations, even if, sadly, some of the influx comes from restaurants unable to use on-hand items or farmers unable to sell their livestock and crops.

Around the world, each evening at 7:00 local time, millions are standing outside their homes or on balconies to applaud health service workers and others on the frontlines of the epidemic. There seems to be a general awakening to the fact that there are more important things in life than merely accumulating more things.

But irrespective of circumstances, societies function best when people look out for one other. Societies that rank high on measures of helpfulness are also often ranked the best places to live. This should come as no surprise to those who know the Bible. All through Scripture is God’s guidance on how to treat one another: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18); “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1–3); “whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17).

However, on the other end of the spectrum, states’ shelter-in-place suggestions have given rise to a growing frustration, evidenced by the increasing number of protests around state capitol buildings.

One such demonstration in Caspar, Wyoming, included a billboard stating, “Quarantine is when you restrict the movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people.” Wyoming Rep. Scott Clem said, “People are rising up here. It’s bubbling in our state.” David Wheeler, president of the Wyoming Medical Society, further described the antagonism between the people and government, fearing that “it could lead to violent confrontations.”

What Will Remain After COVID-19?

While families are uniting, public opinion is drastically divided. What will these disparate reactions bode for the near future?

Only God knows.

One can certainly hope that “when things get back to normal,” people won’t forget the positive lessons from the lockdown, but the Bible also warns us that at the end of time, “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12) and that people’s “[consciences will be] seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2).

A time of great change is a time when many hearts are open; it is a time when our actions or inactions may have a greater impact upon others and when they mean more to others. How can we demonstrate Christ’s love during this crisis so we can have a lasting impact on someone else’s eternity?

Perhaps it would be good to consider how we can continue “Living Like Christ,” as Pastor Doug Batchelor noted in a Bible study class. As he expressed it, “Christians are called to be imitators of Jesus Christ and His character. … And we won’t ever lose our identity when we follow Jesus. In fact, our identity crystallizes, and our personality becomes more refined and becomes more improved.”

A Love that Transforms Bible Study Guide

If you are someone who is currently experiencing the good in the midst of the bad, we would like to encourage you. Along with this free video, our online Bible lesson, “A Love That Transforms,” will help you understand what the ultimate lifestyle change involves. With the extra time so many of us have now, it’s something worth reading—and heeding!

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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