Andrà tutto bene?

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Andrà tutto bene (everything will be fine), a phrase that has grown in popularity throughout Italy for Italians and foreigners alike. This phrase, much like the current virus known as COVID-19, has gone viral among the population in Italy. Typically pictured with a rainbow, the phrase elicits a positive emotional response, which creates some sense of unity among those who communicate it. When translated into English, it reads, “Everything will be fine.” The question as Bible believing, gospel-centric, believers we should be asking is, what does this mean? Each word of the sentence is clear, both in Italian and English, but when you put them together, what is the message being communicated? More importantly, as we think about this phrase through Scripture, and specifically the Gospel, what are we communicating when we spread this simple, attractive, yet vague message?

In one of the earliest articles at the spread of the message, Daniela Solito with La Repubblica writes, “The initiative is running on social networks and invites families, especially children, to create a drawing with a rainbow with the words “everything will be fine” to hang in front of the house or display it on the balcony. ‘We want to launch a wave of positivity and in addition, the children will have fun painting. Let this message circulate,’ says a Facebook board in the local community.”[1] Another article posted by Clare Speak with TheLocal.It explains, “As Italy adjusts to life under emergency quarantine measures, there’s a feeling of calm and solidarity between people around the country which is best summed up by this Italian phrase.”[2] As the culture spreads this message, the intention is to send out a positive response that creates unity in the time of crisis. This brings up several gospel-centric questions. What is this positive response based on? What is the source of unity in this time of crisis? What should our response be as Christians?

As time progresses, if this situation lasts 6 more months (I’m praying it doesn’t), and we continue to see confirmed cases, people in critical condition, financial ruin within many families, the impact of isolation and distancing on a grander scale, and deaths from the virus, will this phrase still be true, or will our emotions about the situation change? When reflecting on these questions, this phrase is seen as a pithy phrase lacking in substance. The aim is to create an emotion based on hope in something that is a false reality. Everything will be fine? What defines the word ‘everything’? If the previous state of affairs before the virus permeated society defines everything, then the future will look nothing like the past. Lives have been impacted, currently, unmeasurable consequences to the economy are taking place, as of this writing, 2,978 families won’t be the same any longer because of the sting of death, and shop owners will learn what it means to do without. The healthcare system will be questioned, and finger-pointing in politics will escalate. If ‘everything’ is defined by our own little individual worlds not being impacted by the virus, then our motives and feelings reveal our own hearts and what is transpiring within ourselves. What if one of us, a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, or our child contracts this virus? Would everything still be fine? The positive emotions along with the false perception of unity this phrase communicates are nothing more than a façade that holds no weight in the lives of those truly impacted by COVID-19. One reaction that someone could have towards this statement is, “But, isn’t a positive response of this type better than seeing people fearful and in a panic?” Let’s turn to see an example of Scripture that will help us understand an answer to this response.

1 Kings 22:1-28 describes a time of distress in the history of Judah and Israel. Upon the brink of war, an inquiry was made on behalf of the kings of Judah and Israel as to engage in conflict or not. 400 prophets communicated a very positive message of hope. Verse 6 states,

Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-Gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” (1 Kings 22:6, NASB)

A hope not founded upon truth, but on lies. A hope that brought solidarity to Judah and Israel, but not upon the Word of God. Micaiah the prophet was summoned to proclaim God’s truth,

 

17 So he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep which have no shepherd.
And the Lord said, ‘These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.’”

18 Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” 19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. 20 The Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ 23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you.” (1 Kings 22:17-23, NASB)

God’s Word was utterly rejected by those listening. The result? Death. Despite a positive response that people rallied around because the response was not based on the Word of God, it led to destruction. In other words, whether it’s panic, fear-mongering, or reacting in a positive emotional way, when our emotions and responses aren’t founded upon God’s truth, then it’s all sinking sand. So, what does God’s Word say to the modern-day Christian in Italy dealing with COVID-19 about our response? A walk through the Book of Matthew guides us in this time.

First, Jesus, early on in his ministry, calls us to seek the kingdom of God.

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34, NASB)

Amidst the chaos, change of rhythm, uncertainty, we ought not to worry what the future holds, but instead, seek Christ. Turn our eyes upon the Giver of hope based on truth, and not sinking sand.

Second, seek Christ through His Word. Jesus says,

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NASB)

Third, speak (or type!) the gospel to remind fellow believers, and to those who have no hope who desperately need to understand it.

32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33, NASB)

Fourth, exercise grace with those around you, whether they are your family, fellow believers, neighbors, or the government.

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22, NASB)

Finally, dwell on the eternal hope that we will be with Christ again in glory. He will come again, and we will meet our Risen Savior and Lord.

42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. (Matthew 24:42-47, NASB)

Let us not be like the prophets in 1 Kings 22, and proclaim a message of death wrapped in positive form. A message that does not lead people to the gospel, but to simply thinking positively. Let us be people that proclaim a message of life. This message of life is where hope is found. This message of life is where joy is discovered. This message of life is where love is displayed. Anything that does not lead to the gospel’s message has the stink of death. It places our hope, our mind, and our emotions on something that is going to fail. No doubt, most, if not all of us, when we join these types of trends have right and good intentions. However, do our intentions line up with the Word of God and does our message reflect the Gospel? We must reflect on the message that others, who don’t know us, are receiving and understanding. Perhaps we should amend the phrase from Andrà tutto bene to Col Vangelo andrà tutto bene (with the gospel everything will be fine).


[1] Daniela Solito, “”Andrà tutto bene”: gli striscioni contro la paura da coronavirus disegnati dai bambini sventolano sui balconi,” La Reppublica- Milano. GEDI Gruppo Editoriale S.p.A., 11 Marzo 2020, https://milano.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/03/11/news/coronavirus_italia_striscioni_andra_tutto_bene_disegni_bambini-250925591/. (accessed March 18, 2020).

[2] Clare Speak, “Italian expression of the day: ‘Andrà tutto bene’,” The Local.It- Italy. The Local Europe AB., 12 Marzo 2020, https://www.thelocal.it/20200312/italian-expression-of-the-day-andr-tutto-bene. (accessed March 18, 2020).

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