When I first was diagnosed with COVID back in early May, most people were compassionate and helpful. Some were not, They simply rebuked COVID and claimed that if I had faith, I would not get sick.
When I kept getting more sick, some said it was my fault since I was not vaccinated. Others explained that COVID was a judgment of God on the evil of this world and, well, just saying.
The bottom line is that the response to this Christian pastor and his ministry leader wife getting COVID were mixed. Believer and non-believer showered us with everything from anger to love, shame to hope.
Now that we’re long haulers of COVID poisoning, we have to make adjustments. I am not good at making life limiting adjustments. I’d rather be in some lonely back alley talking to people and feeding them then sitting on my couch waiting for an improvement or just a good day.
The prognosis is unclear since the medical profession just doesn’t know. So, we don’t know. We don’t know if my heart and lungs will ever work right again. The inflammation in our organs may or may not go away. The stupid can’t remember words switch in my brain, cognitive dissonance, may or may not disappear. We might get better, might get worse, might stay the same.
I still love my doctor and the COVID medical unit is superb, and they helped save my life. But my true faith is in the God who sees. It was the prayers often said and by many that really saved both of our lives.
I had it worse than my wife, Stella, and there were times that the only strength I had, came from these prayers and from my faith in Jesus. I believe I could actually feel these prayers give me encouragement and strength when everything hurt and I laboured to get oxygen into my body. When the demonic side of COVID came at me with darkness and despair, faith kept fear away.
In Hebrews 11, verse 6, it is written that “without faith it is impossible to please God”. Obviously this is true even for no other reason that without faith, you won’t even believe He exists. But how does such faith affect me? How did my faith help me deal with the COVID and the bacterial and viral pneumonia that accompanied it?
Faith is not a magic bullet. So, although I have faith, I still got COVID. If COVID is a judgment of God on our land, it falls on the good and the evil alike since we both live in this land. Saying if God loved me, He would have protected me from COVID is like saying only good things happen to good people.
Putting aside the idea that no one is good except Jesus, how would we grow in our faith if we never had to exercise it? God would be no more than a vending machine pushing out whatever life candy we wanted. There would be no growth, no free will to wisely develop, if there were no obstacles. We would just be spoiled kids getting what we want all the time. This doesn’t sound like love, does it?
My faith helped me stay grounded and realistic during the worst of the covid. In the day-to-day struggle in May and early June, faith gave me the hope that I would overcome this. That is what faith is. Hoping for things not yet seen. Like I turn on a light switch hoping that the light will come into the room. Faith gave me hope.
Faith gave me strength. Faith gave me the power to not give up. Through faith, I knew that whatever happened, I was in a winning situation. If I did die, I’d be with Jesus in heaven. The biggest win of all time! If I didn’t die, then I would survive and live to serve the Lord along with my wife which is what we both love. I win again!
This required acute faith. The kind of faith you need to overcome a fear or an event. This long-haul requires chronic faith. Faith that really gives me hope when the future seems so far away. Chronic faith stems from my life verse:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
No matter what happens, I have faith in Christ’s promises.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.