In the Book of Job, that man's greatest insights into his need for a savior and what that savior needed to do for him came in the midst of his suffering. In my own life, times of suffering have also pushed me to deeper understanding of my failings, need for change, and drove me to seek God. Are there people in the world today who are finding in COVID-19 a force urging them toward God? I have been forced to work from home most of the past year. The savings in commute time is about 12 hours a week. I have used about half that time for additional prayer, Bible study, and writing. I doubt I am alone; many people have seen their priorities change. I just finished the first draft of a book on how to find peace. I would not have chosen the topic or had the time to do the research and write it without the disruption of the pandemic.
Some people are isolated because of the disease. What will they do with this isolation?
Some people are spending more time with their children than before. I am one; all my daughters are in college, but college is now on Zoom from home. What will that do with their relationships?
Some people will die. What effect will this have on the people they leave behind? Years ago, I visited a terminally ill woman a few times, to pray for her and console her. She died and I was changed. Seeing the strength of her faith in the midst of such horrible pain and suffering transformed me. That experience set me free from over a decade of depression. Will God waste so many deaths, or make good use of them?
The Bible has examples of how horrible times can yield surprising results. My church is studying Ruth. In that story, Naomi and her husband leave Israel during a famine to try their luck in Moab. It doesn't work out. Her husband and two sons die and she returns to Israel with her daughter in law, Ruth, because the famine is starting to lift. In the end, Ruth ends up marrying Boaz and from their union come the ancestors of King David and after that, Jesus.
A famine drove Naomi from Israel and then it brought her back, but with a daughter-in-law in tow. That would not have happened without the famine.
What caused the famine? Scientists reconstructing ancient climate believe that the time of Ruth was during the Great Drought. It lasted 50 years and was the worst drought in recorded history. It caused the Late Bronze Age collapse and destroyed several empires, like the Hittites. Archaeologists say every single major city from Greece all the way to Gaza was burned to the ground by the fighting that attended that civilizational collapse. The destruction of those empires cleared the stage for the rise of Israel under David.
The big picture is hard to see. Will Covid-19 spell the downfall of great powers as ordained by God, who is preparing superior replacements? We won't know until many years from now. One of the vaccines going through trial was developed in under two months - a record. When one of the vaccines is ready for distribution, it will hav e been the fastest vaccine developed ever. Perhaps God is using this pandemic to train our scientists and factories to ready them for rapid response to an even worse disease in our near future? Time will tell.
The most important thing to realize is that God has given us free will and given us jobs to do. Our actions count. They matter. Our lives are consequential. How we respond to tragedy is a test of our love. A world of suffering is a stage for us to prove who we are. There is no other way. The only test for a doctor is if they can cure the sick. All our diseases have been the force driving us to understand biology and every other science.