To be honest, I didn’t think it’d happen to me. I wore a mask. I practiced social distancing. I washed my hands. I used Purell. I did all things correctly like the CDC said I was supposed to. And then I started feeling tired. I started feeling achy. At first I thought it was because I was over 40 and this was just getting older. I thought it was because of the chair I usually sit in for my desk. But I went and got tested anyway. And the test came back positive for COVID. The news hit me in the gut and came out as a “Why?”
“Why did I get it?”
“Why didn’t the other people at the grocery store who weren’t wearing masks get it?”
“Why did I test positive when I’ve done all things correctly?”
And then it hit hard.
My body ached. My head hurt. I slept for two days. And then it got worse. I became out of breath. My breathing was labored. My heart pounded in fear. What was going on? My wife rushed me to the ER. It was unbelievable. Every precaution was made. It was if I was the sole bearer of this disease. People wearing body suits came in to check on me, take my vitals, ask me questions. My brain fogged up. I was confused. I didn’t get it. I couldn’t focus. Question after question was asked. And each time the nurse or doctor of PA left, they had to sanitize. It was down right bizarre.
I spent a couple of days in the hospital. IV hooked up to my arm, dripping anti-virals. Constantly being poked and prodded. Heart monitor hooked up to me. Anti-blood clot meds injected into me. Good people. Caring people. But having to sanitize each time. I became a fall risk do to my labored breathing and lack of coordination. I had to press the call button just for help to pee. It felt dehumanizing and embarrassing at the same time. I know they cared. They did their best, but they had to protect themselves as well.
After a few days home, I’m still in isolation. I’m tucked away in a small room that I once called my study. Sleeping on an old uncomfortable couch.
I decided to try to be normal and go back to doing my devotions with coffee in the morning. I had a hard time focusing. I had a hard time thinking clearly. I tried to journal but it was hard to be coherent in my own mind let alone let it come out my hand onto pen and paper. I’d been reading through the Minor Prophets before I got sick and thought it best to keep on reading through them.
And that’s where I came to Habakkuk 3.
I’ve preached on Habakkuk a couple of times. I’ve walked through it and looked at it closely. Habakkuk is a tough book. It’s a prophecy about the Babylonians coming in to Judah and taking people away. Habakkuk comes to God and complains that things are bad—there’s injustice, the poor are being trampled, the rich are getting richer off the poor and marginalized, everything stinks. God’s response is that He is sending the Babylonians to punish those who’ve done wrong. And it will be tough and scary.
The thing is, is that Habakkuk ends in a prayer/song. He says that he will wait upon the Lord even though the news is tough. And then he says this:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Just before this statement, Habakkuk says that he will wait patiently on the Lord (v16) and right after this statement he says:
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of the deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (v19).
There’s so much going on here.
I posted on Facebook earlier this week that COVID sucks eggs. My dad, very Reformed in his theology (love ya dad), pointed out that all things come from God’s providential hand. Yes, that is true. But Habakkuk 3 shows that we can still say things suck and wait on the Lord. He then in turn pointed out that the word “wait” isn’t passive but active.
And so, as things stink right now, as I struggle with brain fog, as I struggle to concentrate (it took a lot to write this post), I think about how I will rejoice in the Lord and actively wait upon Him. I’m not sur what that looks like right now. I’m not sure how I can do it right now. I just know it is part of what I am to do in serving God and rejoicing in Him. Though there are issues at hand, I know that God is good. I know that I will rejoice on day with Him. I’m not close to death in the least bit. I’m recovering slowly (isolation and quarantine is hard on an extrovert like myself). But I will do it. And I will find ways top rejoice in God my Father as I do.
I think Paul says it best in Philippians 4:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”(Philippians 4:4)
I could go on about not being anxious and the like but I think what Paul says here is good. The Lord is near. He is near to me now. And He will come again one day. Until then, even in suffering and illness I wait upon the Lord and rejoice in His holy name.
Prayers for all those going through COVID. It does suck but there’s hope.