First, he’s ok. But it took nearly a week of anxious days and sleepless nights before we knew that.
My 22 year old newlywed son was on a construction mission project, doing demo work on hurricane-ravaged houses in the Florida panhandle. When he started coughing up mucus and having a hard time getting a full breath, we thought it was because he had been pulling down moldy insulation without a mask (none to be found). The urgent care doc in Florida gave him a Z-pack in Florida and sent him on his way. But after several days of not getting any better, Caleb made an appointment with his doctor at home. His doctor recommended Caleb call the screening hotline, and the next day Caleb was screened.
Four days later, we found out he was negative. It is hard to describe the concern and thoughts I had during those four days. I went through half a bottle of antibacterial soap from washing my hands repeatedly. My husband, a pastor, who had gone to the doctor with Caleb, self-quarantined until we knew something, which means that our other son and I self-quarantined from him! I cleaned and prayed and wondered what it would mean if he were positive. Here are seven things that I learned:
Stress makes my need for Bible and prayer time even greater–There were many things I could choose to fill the 75 hours of waiting, but none as productive to my Christian walk as “being” with God. God’s comfort is always available to me when I look to God for help.
Guard your heart and mind. The command to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5) became a necessary survival skill as I bounced between news, social media, and time on my hands. I had to learn to lay aside fearful thoughts and to cling to God’s truth through music or the Bible or prayer.
Be a helper – Listen to the nudge of the Holy Spirit when someone comes to mind. They may have a need that you are able to meet. We may know someone with the virus as this unfolds. Respond compassionately instead of with judgement and fear.
Give thanks – Scripture compels us to give thanks in all things. We certainly are not thankful if the virus impacts our family. We can be thankful “in” all circumstances and not “for” all circumstances.
Look for the silver lining - I learned a lot from Caleb about seeing the positive. At one time, he said, “Maybe I’m supposed to get this now so that I can be over it when everyone else gets sick. Then, since I’ll be immune, I can help others. I was stunned at his faith and his heart to help.
Waiting is hard. Full stop. There’s nothing else to say here. Waiting is hard. However…
…Remember what God has done – One of the most important words in the Old Testament is “remember.” Throughout their forty year wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites were constantly admonished to remember what God had done for them in the past. And this is what sustained them in the wilderness, en route to the Promised Land. And this is where all of us are right now. This uncertain season may have some similarities as our normal routines have changed, we are uncertain of what the day will bring, and it may not be as clear what God is doing. But remember that God is faithful. There is a saying in the stock market: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” But with God, it is exactly the opposite: Past performance is evidence of future faithfulness.
Tom Petty was right. The waiting is the hardest part. But in the journey is joy, and in the waiting is worship.
Trish Jackson, Missions Lifestyle Strategist for Preschool, Children & Students