Sunday, March 22nd, I tested positive for COVID-19.
An unknown number rolled on my cell phone screen, and I sent it to voicemail. Listening to the message, I recognized it was the doctor from Urgent Care. I was not feeling well on Wednesday, March 18th so I went to Urgent Care to get tested. Listening to the voicemail, I heard the urgency in his voice, and I redialed his number. In a few seconds, he says the words many of us dread to hear in today’s climate, “…you tested positive for COVID-19.”
I paused. I nodded my head and said calmly, “Okay.”
I was not scared or afraid. My heart did not skip a beat, and a few times through the doctor’s self-quarantine instructions, he paused, waiting for my reaction, and I simply said,” okay.”
After he finished and I resigned myself to self quarantine for the next week, I could not help but praise God for His overwhelming peace and comfort I felt in those moments. If you follow my posts on Instagram, then you are well aware about the post I made concerning how despite how terrible I am feeling or what I am going through, I can remain positive and thankful.
So, ironically it was like God putting my lament of thankfulness to the test. Or who knows? It may be God’s purpose for me in this situation to grow deeper in my dependence on Him. Or it may be God’s purpose for me to draw closer to Him as I am recovering. In either case, it is my hope to pass this test, no matter the outcome and frustrations I face during this season of isolation.
As my mind stretches all the way back to September, I cannot help but pinpoint or stick pins to the adversities in my life where I faced troubles and trials of different kinds. Figuratively, I took a few steps back to analyze the red thread tying specific difficulties together and it’s like a single flame touched the hem of the garments of my life and began setting the threads of my life ablaze. Like an unwatered Christmas tree, the fire raged and consumed the living room in a matter of minutes.
Now, I am reviewing how this blazing fire burned everything to the ground lifting and turning over the ashes to see what remains.
From close friendships I purposely disconnected or my Masters Degree put on hold due to a racist counselor or accepting a long career as an educator is not for me or me in isolation away from my family. Oh my friends, the purpose of this blog post is to not incur self pity, but it is to evaluate the present, accept my circumstances and defend why we have hope, why we must remain hope and why there still is hope.
Often out of the ashes, out of hopelessness God shows Himself to declare He is God. Out of misery, God performs miracles to prove only He is worthy of glory.
I am burning with passion to share this word of encouragement. It is one thing to die, but it is a second death to die without hope. And we are children of hope not of darkness and despair.
So as I watched, experienced, and saw my life burn to the ground, I too see many other believers and non-believers whose houses are also covered in flames, whose residence has disappeared in shadow and fire who can no longer look to the future with any kind of joy. As the ashes fall around like blackened snow a fiery message I bear these good words from my soul.
God gives grace from day to day
Peter writes in I Peter 5:10, “10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Grace is an undeserved favor. Always remember saints, there is no one righteous, not a single person who is deserving of God’s grace. But God’s grace can never be earned and what makes it amazing is God “called us into his eternal glory in Christ…” Out of the grace of God we do not only have eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus, we have eternal glory as well. As Christ Jesus will reign in glory forever in eternity, so shall we also be in glory too. God has made us co heirs in Christ’s sufferings and glory.
This is a component of God’s grace no disease or virus or death can strip away from us. Like God’s love, His grace is unwarranted and uncaused. He gives grace to His children and God is the God of all grace meaning His grace is infinite, bottomless, and God is not the God of some grace. He alone bestows blessings and favor when He deems necessary and in His due time He ends our suffering. In this bleak time period, it is hard to not be crushed and eaten away by despair and the tragedy we see on social media. The death toll is climbing and many of us are seeing people experience uncontrollable adversity and the unknown shadow of the future looms over our head. Therefore, we lean into the grace of God. We press into His presence daily with our bowls empty and our hearts ready to receive the favor we need in the present.
I, myself am suffering from this coronavirus but I have to recognize the grace afforded to me in the midst of my pain. Grace is a blessing or gift from God but it is a tool to teach us dependency. I depend upon God to wake me up the next day. I depend on God to give my body the strength to fight against this illness. I receive God’s grace as I receive text messages and phone calls of support and love from friends and church members. Some days are harder than others, but Jesus promised we shall experience trouble in this life as well as His resurrecting power demonstrating through us how to be overcomers.
Your hope, my friend should live in no other place but the Lord God Almighty. Especially in these wicked times. As I remain quarantined, I find myself praying more and more for others and for God to strike down the greedy and incompetent workers of iniquity. As I remain quarantined, my school requires I make daily phone calls to my students and hearing their voices reassures me, I serve a God who cares.
Even though I am sick, know this Beloved, I serve a God who is good all the time. He is still worthy to be praised for faithfulness is a fruit borne out of adversity. True faithfulness is the saints desire to worship God and remain loyal to Christ’s teachings in the midst of pain and suffering. It is not allowing circumstances to turn one’s heart bitter and allow unanswered questions breed resentment against God.
True faithfulness believes in the faithfulness of the One True God. Furthermore, God promises to “restore, make strong, and steadfast” once our suffering is over. Facing adversity creates in us this strength and unflinching character. Firm and steadfastness are traits exhibiting strength and such strength has to have the fruit of longsuffering to endure. In order to grow stronger, we must suffer for a time.
Hope in God’s Flawless Character
But our suffering is not in vain, God does not waste pain. Each ash or burn is a lesson. Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Our hope should be in the Lord. Has not His track record proven it over and over again? Does not meet the qualifications of someone who can do the impossible? The reason why hope dwindles or some people cannot sustain is hope has to be placed in a person with flawless character and the power to manifest it. God fits both qualifications. He is Eternal and sits on the throne and has endured all generations. This is not God’s first plague or wave of disillusioned human beings.
Hope is the expectation, the assured confidence that what has been promised shall be given and be manifested soon. From those of us who hope in the Lord, we have the expectation the Lord will follow through on what He tells us He will do. Why?
It is due to the perfect, flawless, impeccable character of the Lord God. There is no flaw, no unresolved variable or scratch to God’s holy character. I trust confidently in God because there is no promise He has broken. There is no lie He has told. I know one day my strength shall be renewed; I know I will soar like wings on eagles, and I will run and not grow weary. My body shall be restored as the Holy Spirit uses this time secluded from people to purge me of my sin nature. The Holy Spirit disciplines my heart and soul in these grave moments to find joy and delight in His presence, not in the experiences of the world or garnering money and status and comfort.
In the absence of money, health, wealth, status, romantic pursuits, luxuries, I can say God promises He is everything He says He is.
True Hope is made from unbreakable material
Paul writes in Romans 5:5, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Hope does not put me or you to shame. I used to think it was. I used to think it was so foolish to be hopeful, especially when the odds are stacked against you. Especially, when each day adds an additional layer of suffering and the problems never cease.
I used to hate hope, because to me it was only an unfulfilled wish, and many times I felt like the hopes of many Christians would never be fulfilled on this side of heaven.
Slowly, yet surely throughout these past 3-5 years, with each rejection, heartbreak, disappointment, and discouragement, the Holy Spirit has been building up my hope like a broken bone, getting stronger and more resilient after each accident.
I realized now, as I look back, hope is not built from the faintest material, it is not a glass house, but a diamond castle. Hope is not to be shaken. Hope is meant to be made of the strongest material. Real hope is made evident in God’s love. His love for us motivates us to keep living, to keep fighting, to keep praying, to keep hoping.
So my friends, out of the ashes of uncertainty, I want to assure you, encourage you, of a few things
- God is (still) working: God is always working. He never tires. He is all powerful. “17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:17)
- God is (always) in control: God sees everything. He permits the good and the bad. Nothing is out of His control. (Luke 12:22-26)
- God is good (all the time): Troubling circumstances will never compromise the goodness of God. He remains morally perfect. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Take a look at these verses and give in to the peace of the Lord God. Know your hope is not gone, if it is, you may have simply placed your hope in the wrong person or thing. So out of the ashes of uncertainty, I a COVID-19 patient encourage you to not give up hope and do not give in. Out of these ashes, God will bring something beautiful.
Copyright © 2020 by A Meeting at the Well