I wanted to scream in frustration, but my throat was too sore. As I looked at the home test, part of me was in disbelief that I had COVID again, but another part of me had sensed it would happen. I had just heard at church about how many people were out due to having the illness for another round.
When I first had COVID in 2021, I thought it would end my earthly life. It was the sickest I had ever been. As it ravaged my body for weeks on end, there were moments I prayed it would kill me and stop the suffering. After all, 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “But we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” As the illness wore on, this promise sounded better with each passing day. All the same, I was thankful to ultimately survive the illness, even with some long-term effects, so that I could continue to be here for my family. I also felt relieved, like I could be assured in my COVID immunity.
So when I started feeling ill a week ago, I dismissed it as the flu which is also going around. I wanted to deny that it could be COVID again. However, after several days of persistent fever, my husband suggested I take one of our home COVID tests. I agreed and watched the progression of the test in mounting frustration.
Irrational from illness-induced sleeplessness, I started to feel overwhelmingly angry. I was also scared that the illness would linger for weeks again and that I would suffer additional long-term effects. I wanted to shout out that it was not fair because I was annoyed by the injustice of it all. Had I not already been through this? Did I not already have immunity? I was angry at the disease, angry at whatever unknown person I got it from, and angry at myself for maybe going too many places or not being careful enough. But deep down inside, I felt angry that God allowed me to get this illness again. I did not want to acknowledge it because anger toward God felt wrong, but it was how I honestly felt.
Stewing in my anger, I remembered a message I once heard that warned against anger at God. It is our fleshly nature to feel anger; in fact, it is one of the stages of the grieving process. Anger is often directed toward ones we love the most, including God. I think this is because sometimes it feels safe to be angry at those closest to us, knowing they will still love and forgive us. The issue is, while understandable, it is not safe to live in this zone and let our anger, especially toward God, take hold in our lives.
I started to feel very convicted about my anger and poor attitude. I had no right to harbor any anger toward our holy and loving, sovereign Lord. I went to my knees in quiet isolation, in prayer, seeking forgiveness for my attitude, but also submitting that if it was His will I go through COVID again, than so be it. Through prayer, my anger lifted and left room for the peace He provides. I was able to start being thankful again.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
To be clear, I do not think I will ever enjoy having COVID. The idea of having it again in the future does not fill me with happy anticipation. But I am reminded that our circumstances do not have to dictate the peace and joy that we have, and we can always find reasons to be thankful. For example, I started to thank God for these things:
When I started reaching out to family, friends, and fellow Bible study attendees to let them know of my illness and ask for prayers, they started praying, and I could feel that.
Gratitude is life-changing. Do not underestimate its capabilities. The more I thanked God, the better I felt overall. At every health milestone, I continued to thank God. My fever broke, thank You God. I slept the whole night through, thank You God. I can breathe through both nostrils, thank You God. My senses of taste and smell are only partially impaired this time, thank You God. The more reasons I thanked God, the more reasons occurred to me. I have been filled with overwhelming gratitude.
In everything give thanks. In good times and bad. In illness and hardship. When you cannot even understand the point of what you are going through, give thanks anyway. My husband and I have recently talked about viewing things that happen through the lens of, “What lesson does God want me to learn from this?” I feel like God thought I needed a reminder in gratitude. And I thank God for that too, for loving us enough to correct us when needed. Thank You God in everything!
This writer is a Jesus girl who is a beautiful work in progress - just like the rest of us.