Covid put me in the hospital 3 different times – something I had not experienced since I was 8 years old.
And it wrapped its grip around me for 7 weeks. I had never been that sick that long.
We all have plenty of fears, but I’ve added this one from my personal Covid experience: forgetting what God wants me to know.
Why is that so important? Because I don’t want to go through anything like that again! In my first blog, I wrote about how I can’t control much, but I can choose to make the changes God wants to bring into my life. 1 Peter 5:12 says,
My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
Here are 5 of the ways God used Covid to make me a better person:
1. I am more grateful now.
During my sickness, there were many days I sat and laid and then, laid and sat. On particularly nauseous days, I had to close my eyes for long stretches of time. I couldn’t even watch the trees swaying in the Colorado wind.
I was stuck on the couch. Inside! And I am the king of cabin-fever.
But soon, I was eating simple meals of safe foods and taking short excursions down the driveway. I felt new again. Like counting down to Christmas, my wife and I counted the days I went without vomiting. Headaches were decreasing from lasting all day to short hours. God cleared my head to load it with gratitude.
God loves our praise. I knew I didn’t make myself feel better. Even the doctors and nurses couldn’t pinpoint why nausea prolonged my Covid. I knew Who brought my healing, and I wanted to be like the Psalmist who thanked the One Who first gave me breath and Who restored my health. From now on, I want to live Psalm 9:1
I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds.
2. I will pray more now.
With so many people giving me their gift of prayer during my sickness, and more and more of our friends getting Covid (some much worse than I), I wanted to bless others. We need prayer to fight the battles of life. From now on, I want the strength of Ephesians 6:18
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all of God’s people.
My wife and I have become more intentional about prayer. We have written a list with extra room and have begun a habit of prolonged praying – not just names, but specific things about each person or family.
Yes, prayer accomplishes many things, but it has also blessed me, and it’s very satisfying to let my friends know we are praying for them. We are truly involved in their lives.
3. I won’t budge now.
During my sickness, the couch became my temporary home. My place of solitude. My place of healing. I didn’t budge. Even greater were the healing Scriptures God showed me or people gave me. When my faith was low, God lifted me up.
A real turning point for me was when I had an official meeting via zoom with my boss. He was shocked at my condition and prayed a mighty prayer for me which I will not soon forget. Later that day the Lord confirmed my boss’ prayer when He gave me Psalm 138:7, 3:
Though I am surrounded by troubles, You will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out Your hand and the power of Your right hand saves me…. As soon as I pray, You answer me. You encourage me by giving me Your strength.
I don’t say I understand how faith in God changes everything, but I claimed it in a fresh way in my soul. I don’t want to budge from that. From now on, I want that confidence.
4. I can un-quarantine now.
Sure, I’ll still follow the experts’ advice to practice care for myself and for others, but I can no longer think only of myself. Others are suffering more than I ever have. They need encouraged and helped. As our WAY DJ, Bekah says, God wants to use me to “sit with others in their pain.”
Jesus said in Mark 10:44-45:
Whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life a ransom for many.
So many have served me. Not just in my illness, but I have examples throughout my life that I have taken for granted. From now on, I want to get in step with Jesus and truly love others.
5. I will look ahead now.
And I mean far ahead. Have you ever wondered the true meaning of Scriptures which talk about desiring heaven, when we’re supposed to be busy living for God here on earth?
Prior to my Covid trap, my wife and I had been refreshed by visits with friends back East. And then came this unplanned time of fear and loneliness. There were many times in my illness when I just wanted to flee the slog of despair.
Forget earth’s misery and get to heaven. Escape (!) to the believer’s priceless inheritance, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change or decay [1 Peter 1:3-5]. Wow, did I feel defiled and decaying, especially when I was too weak (or lazy) to shower! I was more than ready for the newness of heaven with no more sorrow or pain or tears [Revelation 21].
Sickness can make us want to give up, if we aren’t careful. But God didn’t save me so I can escape this world. He wants to energize me for His work until my assignment is done. Philippians 1:6 reminds me,
God Who began a good work in you will continue His work until it is finally finished!
God’s desire for me is never escape; instead, it is completion. Yes, hope is ahead. But help is needed now in our world.
I can’t deny how much help I needed (from God and others) in my sickness. From now on, I want to be God’s hands and feet to help others until God completes the work He wants me to do. Now, it’s heaven that steers my life here on earth. I can’t focus too far ahead. I have to look right in front of me. It’s all in His time – for the present and the future.
I don’t want to forget these timely lessons. And yes, I’m still learning, growing, changing (and probably have a lot further to go!). But let’s pray for one another not to waste the opportunities God has for us today in the fullness of His life [Ephesians 4:11-13]. It makes for a healthy life!