Like millions of others I have spent a lot of time watching and dissecting Wandavision over these past weeks. It has been a very interesting ride from humor and goofiness to mystery and creepiness. I’m still wanting to logon to Disney+ to find some sort of 10th episode, or a short tying into the show, with a reveal that Luis was Agent Woo’s witness hiding there. Perhaps having Luis add his story-telling style to the influence of How I Met Your Mother? I don’t think we will get that…but it would be fun.
Throughout this series Wanda has been going through the stages of grief. She has a lot to grieve after losing Vision but that is just adding to years of grief from the losses of her family. In the middle of this grief, we find something else to consider. The use of evil for good.
When we first find Wanda she is caught in a 1950s sitcom not really remembering or caring about her past. She is exploring small town America, a bit confused, and enjoying life with Vision….whom we know was killed. Slowly episode by episode we find out more about her neighbors, only to find that they are just playing roles in a story for her comfort. Her long lost brother comes back…but it is the X-Men films version of him. Then we find out one neighbor, Agnes, has been hiding something. Her name is Agatha Harkness and she is a witch…who has been playing around in this crazy scenario to find out more about Wanda…and steal her power.
In order to understand her power Agatha takes Wanda on a tour of her life, reliving the deaths of her parents and her brother and Vision. Re-exploring what has been going on since Endgame. While Agatha is a villain in this, she is more of a chaotic and opportunistic villain. She takes Wanda on a journey of discovery, forcing the Scarlett Witch to face her grief head on and to live in it. In this Wanda also learns more about her powers and begins to see that she needs to learn to control them.
In this series grief is the villain, not Agatha. However, Agatha, who acts in a villainous manner, does force Wanda to face some issues and begin a process of healing and training. And so we come to an interesting question: can a villain, or evil situations, be used for good?
Have you ever read the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis? After being sold into slavery by his own brothers, he spends years in Egypt. First at the home of a high level gov’t. official, then in jail, then he finally comes to service of the Pharaoh himself. Joseph even becomes second in all of Egypt. Joseph, after explaining the meanings of Pharaoh’s dreams, is put in charge of making sure the nation survives a famine. It is during this time that Josephs brothers come to find food. Eventually he reveals himself and they are flabbergasted at the realization that he is alive and running a nation.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today.Genesis 50:20, English Standard Version
The evil brought on Joseph by his family was not a good thing. It was slavery. In this he was falsely accused of assault by a woman he refused to have relations with, sent to jail, and in all of this God stayed with him. In all of this God used the evil for good.
All in all, evil intentions do not mean evil outcomes. Sometimes God twists things. In the book of Numbers a prophet named Balaam is hired to put curses on the people of Israel. After some crazy antics, that involve a talking donkey and the angel of the Lord, Balaam still tries to put the curse on the Israelites. Yet God takes this curse and changes it to a blessing. God puts him in trances and has him speak out prophecies that speak for Israel and against other nations, including the Moabites who had hired him to curse Israel. In Deuteronomy we are told:
However, the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.Deuteronomy 23:5, New International Version
Let’s take a look at the last year we have had. COVID sent us home and tore us away from events, friends, sometimes even family. Sickness is never a good thing, but what good has come out of this? I believe God has been doing surgery and part of that surgery has been getting our culture to slow down. In our grief of losing people to death, of losing opportunities to see friends, of losing jobs and income, we have found some good. Families have come together for dinners, board games, home projects. Some have used stimulus money to get out of debt or to help others. Schools and businesses have sought out new tools for getting work done.
The question of how God deals with evil is hard because we can’t see all of it. We don’t always understand why He allows evil to continue, yet God sometimes uses evil for good, often fights evil, and does a lot we can not see. For some reason He has allowed it for His purposes. Yes, we should fight evil in all its forms: racism, greed, sin, crime, etc. He is fighting it and we should join him, working under His leadership. We should also start asking “How is God turning evil around for good?” a bit more often.