A little over a week ago, I took my temperature. It was 99.6–not quite a fever, but I definitely felt the distinct discomfort of being feverish. My throat was sore, my head was aching, and my chest began to constrict with the thump of What if?…
Normally, I would power through these symptoms and chalk it up to being a seasonal something or other. But when I expressed my thoughts to my husband, both wise and immuno-compromised, he suggested I message our health liaison. I did, we talked, and it was decided that I should immediately isolate from John and get in my car to go and be tested for COVID-19. So I wiped down the shared surfaces, John moved his pillow into the guest room, and I drove to the doctor’s office for a curbside nasal swab that seemed to touch my brain.
Obviously, a million thoughts ran through my head. A lot of incoherent, babbling prayers were thrown toward the sky. What if John gets sick, too? Lord, have mercy. What if I have exposed a stranger despite my best efforts to act wisely? Lord, have mercy. What if I have to actually confront the fact that I am not in control and will be scathed while I walk through a broken and hurting world? Lord, please, please have mercy.
In all, I was socially isolated for five days. John and I stepped around one another, I was relegated to certain rooms of the house, and I tried to remember to turn lights on and off with my elbow rather than with contaminated hands. I kept the fact that I was tested a secret, not wanting to raise any more alarms than were already sounding in my own heart.
Finally, on Monday, I heard the word “negative” over the phone and ran to close the six foot gap that had existed between my spouse and me. It was the day before our 2nd wedding anniversary, and it felt like a special gift to have received the news just in time to hold hands as we celebrated.
In the time before that phone call, I asked myself again and again how I would react if the results were positive. I am the furthest thing from perfect, so I certainly lived in my fair share of anxiety. By the end, though, I had come to realize that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, it would all be okay.
If I had had sweat it out at home, all would be well.
If I had had to enter the hospital, all would be well.
If I had had to hold my husband’s hand as he suffered, all would be well.
If I had had to look fallen flesh in the eye, it would have been painful and I would have wept and questioned and been heartsick, but I truly believe I would have echoed Julian of Norwich: “All manner of thing shall be well.”
I need to be very clear and say that this would not be because I am awesome, but because I serve a God who is awesome. In the darkest moments, the Lord has empowered each of us to be able to choose the light. We can call upon His brilliance to banish the shadow. We can surrender to the fact that we are weak while also falling back into the billowing folds of His strength. All will be well not because we hold a shallow hope in the world, but because our hope runs deep, anchors the soul (Heb. 6:19), and redirects our watering eyes toward the full redemption that is steadily moving toward us.
COVID-19 has no place in the reality that God is crafting. We walk through these struggles now knowing that the victory is already ours in Jesus Christ. The world will be made new.
As I have processed this and thanked God again and again for a negative test result, Hillsong’s “Desert Song” has been stuck in my head. It is an old favorite which speaks to our triumph and God’s faithfulness in both wasteland and harvest. Give it a listen. The bridge has been especially potent:
“All of my life
in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship.”
Whether we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4) or dance along mountain ridges, there is always a reason to turn our eyes upon Jesus because He is always and eternally faithful. When a test reads negative, we praise. When a test reads positive, we praise. This is no small thing, and definitely not easy, but how amazing is it that the same holy companion does not leave our side no matter the terrain?
In the end, the only guarantee we have is God in Godself. Come what may, that is infinitely more than enough.