by Maria Rudolph

Some forms of coronavirus restrictions have been part of our lives for months. Many people feel isolated, others uncertain, exhausted, or frustrated. Some also experience this time as a blessing of a quieter life without dozens of commitments.

What is your experience? How has COVID-19 impacted your daily life?

You have not caused the pandemic, yet you have to suffer the consequences. Similarly, Joseph in the book of Genesis suffers much hardship in his life that was not caused by his own doing and he had no control over the circumstances.

Read Genesis 37:4,5 and 23–27, Genesis 39:11–20 and Genesis 40:20–23. What are all the wrongs done to Joseph? How did Joseph respond in each situation? Was he resentful? Did he seek revenge?

Amazingly, through all the hardship Joseph suffered, he remained faithful to God and treated others kindly.

In the face of continued mistreatment, in our human nature, we are quick to lament the unfairness, resent those who cause it and can easily slip into a state of depression and give up or seek to get even. Instead, Joseph models a path of continual forgiveness and makes himself available to be God’s instrument right where he is.

Jesus teaches and wins for us the same forgiveness. As a baptised child of God, you live in the love and forgiveness of Christ. Every new day is a fresh start, a new day to be the instrument of God and to share his love and blessings with others.

Read Genesis 50:18–20. Can you think of a current or past situation that was bad but God brought good things out of it?

Read Romans 8:28.

The key statement in this comforting verse is that you and all people are called by God for specific purposes in his kingdom, and God works for your good. But does that mean life is supposed to be smooth sailing?

What is your specific call from God on your life at the moment? How does your church community help and equip you to live out this call?

Sometimes the road ahead seems to be full of obstacles and pain and the outward conditions don’t seem to suit the purpose God has in mind for you. ‘If only … then

I could … ’ becomes a common thought in our heads.

What tasks or decisions do you put off because the outside parameters don’t seem to fit with God’s calling or with what you know God wants you to do?

As we read on in the Romans 8 passage, Paul gives us the most wonderful assurance that we can rest secure in the love of God, which provides the overarching framework for our lives.

Read Romans 8:31,35–39. How does the Romans passage put things into perspective for you?

As you continue to live in the ‘new normal’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, how can these insights help you to focus on the good things God brings out of bad situations?

Thank you, dear Lord, for always working for the good of those who love you, including me. Help me to question less and to trust you more as I step out boldly to share your love with others and as I humble myself so you can work through me right where I am at. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Maria Rudolph is a student at Australian Lutheran College and is a member of Concordia Lutheran Church Duncraig in Western Australia, along with her three children and pastor husband Michael.

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