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One Year Later: 16 Short Stories of God Working Things for Good Since The Pandemic Began

 
Bethany McIlrath | March 18th 2021

None of us would say that the pandemic is a good thing, but every Christian can say that God is working it for our good and his glory, according to his purposes (Romans 8:28.)

Some of us say this by faith, struggling to see evidence yet of God’s handiwork in the suffering around us. Others praise God for tangible pictures of his involvement over the past 360ish days. 

Here are 16 mini-stories of those pieces of evidence. May we build one another up in Christ, who is not limited by anything - even this!

Has God worked things for good since the pandemic began? Here are 16 encouraging mini-stories. 

God at Work in Families

  1. “God has worked good out of this situation by removing many distractions that filled every day. As a family, we've had time to reflect on things that matter most, we've had meaningful conversations with our teenagers and strengthened our relationship. We've had the opportunity to show practical love and care to friends around us that have been affected by the pandemic.” - Nelly Ortiz

  2. “With my husband working from home since the very beginning of lockdown part one, it means he has spent more time with our family than he has ever been able to. In particular, he was able to spend time in Scotland with his identical twin brother, who passed away at the beginning of March 2021 after a year long battle with cancer. Being in 'lockdown'  enabled him to help to take care of his brother, being with him until the very end, and feel like he made a difference where it is so easy to feel helpless. God has blessed them with the time in lockdown that they would not have otherwise had, and we are all truly grateful and thankful for that.” - Lynn Dudley-Taylor

“God has blessed them with the time in lockdown that they would not have otherwise had, and we are all truly grateful and thankful for that.” Praise God for working things for good, even in the pandemic!

God at Work In Small Groups

  1. “During the pandemic, I have been able to transition my Women's Bible Study to Zoom and keep going! Since transitioning to Zoom, we have a woman in The Netherlands who joins us and a couple of women from other local churches!” - Katie Thompson

  2. “Attendance at our life group used to be lower pre-COVID because the parents had to take turns to stay with the kids. Now all of us can attend online each week and the studies have been deeper and more encouraging. We also have WhatsApp video calls with the women and men separately after the Bible study. We have got to know each other better through this and it’s been a real support through challenging times.” - Caroline Napper

  3. “Using zoom means prayer groups are always random, and it was nerve-wracking to begin with to be put into breakout rooms to pray with people I didn’t know. But in the end it has been an enormous encouragement—I’ve prayed with and for people from all across the church, and it feels so much more like a family to me as a result.” - Katy Morgan

God at Work Through His Church

  1. “Covid lockdowns came at a crucial point for us, as we were on the brink of going weekly with a new church plant in the suburb where I live. The major upside is that our launch leadership team has spent the last year meeting weekly. We will emerge from lockdown ready to renew our planting plans but with a much more solid understanding of our convictions and confident in our partnership as we move forward—things that might have proven difficult to do in the everyday life of running a church.” - Tim Thornborough

  2. “The connection with small home groups, albeit over a screen, has been a real blessing and encouragement to my husband and me. The fact we are home, given multiple lockdowns, has meant no excuse not to attend. Our church preached on 1 Samuel last year,  and it was incredible to listen each week, then follow up in more depth in our home groups using 1 Samuel For You by Tim Chester. The result - spiritual growth.” - Sam Ball

God at Work Reaching Those Who Don’t Know Him Yet

  1. “Before the Covid-19 outbreak, my wife and I had been trying to invite neighbours of ours, who are a gay couple, to an evangelistic course. They had both been interested but had to say no due to work commitments. Then last year when we invited them again, lock-down meant that they said that they could maybe come along to one or 2 sessions. In the end they ended up coming every week. I have since had 3 sessions one-to-one with Simon via Zoom going through an overview of the Bible as he was keen to learn more after the course. We have been so encouraged to see God at work in this way and the way that God has been pleased to use us in his service.” - Ben Woodcraft

  2. “Without any effort at evangelism God just gave friends an interest to look into Jesus. We’ve had a record number of non-Christians attending in person and show a real interest in the gospel. This resulted in a physical (as opposed to Zoom) Christianity Explored course with 5 non-Christians, but this is the largest ever for our tiny church and a wonderful thing! Lots of open doors for conversation about the gospel generally, folk amazed at the prophetic insight of Revelation. Folk who couldn’t easily attend even before lockdown, can now see & hear our church meeting, which is a bonus. A weekly Zoom women’s bible study has taken off too.” - Tom Seidler

  3. “When we couldn’t pass books out as a church we bought copies of Where is God in a Coronavirus World, made a short promotional video and placed it on our Facebook page letting people know they could pick up a free copy from some of the shops in the village who kindly agreed to let us place them in their premises. There was great interest in the books and in fact we had to order more.” - Robin Fairbairn

“Lockdown meant our busy unbelieving neighbours said that they could maybe come along to one or 2 sessions of an evangelistic course. In the end they ended up coming every week.” Praise God for working things for good, even in the pandemic!

God at Work Globally

  1. “In the first UK lockdown, a few active types in our church furloughed from work were increasingly bored and frustrated. At the same time, through our monthly focus on persecuted churches worldwide, we were starting to realise that we had been given the opportunity to share in a small way the daily isolation of many believers in cultures hostile to Christian belief. Our activists organised a Lockdown Challenge to raise funds for Open Doors. The church responded brilliantly, resulting not only in raising £20,000 but also in a greater, more prayerful appreciation of the cost of and commitment to faith in Jesus Christ borne by so many brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.” - Anne Woodcock

  2. “Last weekend was the international conference for my church network. A poll was taken among the leaders of the level of engagement with online church as compared to traditional in-person church. Of the roughly 100 churches from 6 countries attending 76% reported more people watching their digital offering than would normally attend on a Sunday morning, 17% reported their digital congregation was double or more a typical pre-covid in-person meeting. Keynote speakers noted that, just as Paul’s imprisonment had widened his ministry by forcing him to write letters rather than minister in person, so the closure of our meetings and move to online gatherings had widely expanded the reach of our message and ministry.” - Richard Roper

  3. “I have been encouraged to see people in the local community have got closer by working together through food distribution to those who've lost jobs or been put on furlough, even in times of social distancing. Churches have also adjusted to find new creative ways to reach out to the community locally & globally and many Non-Christian friends seem to find it's easier to visit church activities online (e.g. Sunday service) rather than going into an unfamiliar church building.” - Sayuri Kato

God at Work in Our Hearts, Hospital Beds, and More

14. “I think the pandemic has deepened my faith as I have had to learn to trust my heavenly Father each moment of every day. In the past I have often been tempted to believe that I can set long-term plans, but the Lord has taught me to live one day at a time, one decision at a time while trusting in His sovereign care. I don't know the future, but my Father in Heaven does!” - Geoff Dennis

15. “In January I ended up in hospital with a nasty bout of Covid, desperately sucking in oxygen through a mask and feeling more ill than ever in my life. That may not sound very encouraging! But as the worldwide church mobilised, there were over 50 people in a WhatsApp prayer group, along with many others as well. This gave me opportunities to tell several nurses that there were, quite literally, people praying for me all around the world, and explain something of what that says about God's family, the church.” - Alison Mitchell

16. “Throughout the winter lockdown, I have been able to meet with one other person on my daily dog walk. Whilst walking I have had great conversations with people and really understood a lot more about them. This has meant that I have been able to pray for them more meaningfully as well as offer encouragement. The walks have really helped me too and I am resolved to keep meeting people one to one once the restrictions are lifted.” - Alexa Burstow

“I ended up in hospital with Covid. This gave me opportunities to tell several nurses that there were people praying for me all around the world, and explain something of what that says about God's family, the church."

God at Work...at Work!

It was sunny outside The Good Book Company office in Charlotte, North Carolina the day I compiled these mini-stories. In Colorado, Michigan and West Virginia, most of my other American co-workers had snow. When I gathered via Zoom with my co-workers in London, North England and Ireland, it was raining....again. All throughout the pandemic, our experiences have varied as widely as the weather. But we've seen God's consistency, and we're blessed to see him at work in our work here. It's our privilege to serve alongside you.

Do you have a story of God working things for good in the past year? We'd love to hear it! Share in the comments below or send us your story at publicity@thegoodbook.com.

Bethany McIlrath

Bethany is our Digital Marketing Manager. Her passion is helping others know Christ and grow in Him. She is married to Matt and they enjoy their small dog’s antics and opportunities to serve together.