Things I’ve Learned From Testing Positive for COVID-19
I’m one of the over 2.9 million Americans who have tested positive for COVID-19. It has been a trying experience. Here are some spiritual lessons I’ve learned.
The first symptom came one night when I noticed I had lost my sense of taste and smell. Then I went through a range of symptoms from elevated body temperature to body aches to nausea.
I had the symptoms of COVID-19.
Do I start to panic? Should I get tested? What if I test positive? All these thoughts begin racing through my mind. I finally did get tested and my test came out positive.
I did have COVID-19. (And I am still in quarantine as I write this.)
Fears and worries
After the diagnosis, I began to think of others immediately. Who was I in contact with? What if my family gets it? Kids? Friends? Could anyone I’ve been around be “high-risk”?
People don’t really know how they will react until they get it. I would say, as with any other virus or infirmity, if you can avoid getting it, do so. Believe me, you don’t want it.
After dealing with a week of symptoms, I hoped and waited for the worst of it to be over. Eventually they did pass. I don’t feel 100 percent as I write this, but I’ve settled into a routine of dealing with the virus.
The symptoms are difficult to deal with, but so are the confinement and isolation. This is really a big trial—just as much mentally as physically. Watching statistics and interviews on the news doesn’t exactly prepare you for actually experiencing it.
Lessons I’m learning from COVID-19
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from my fight with COVID-19.
1. Be patient. Being quarantined for a minimum of two weeks is one of the challenges of the disease. In most cases people are isolated in one or two rooms for the duration of the time. It isn’t easy. Loneliness, boredom and going stir-crazy are all issues you deal with. You must keep yourself busy with a to-do list, which obviously should include prayer, meditation and reading.
Consider the words we find in James 1:3-4: “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
2. Be positive. The onslaught of information from the media and Internet over the last four months can lead us into a very negative mind-set. It becomes easy to dwell on the worst possible outcomes.
We must have the faith to know God is in control of the situation and trust His will to be done.But we must have the faith to know God is in control of the situation and trust His will to be done. That will give us confidence that He knows all things and will never leave us or forsake us. We can’t allow ourselves to settle into a destructive and negative mentality. It is good to remember that things could always be a lot worse—and they will get better.
Proverbs 17:22 reminds us that “a merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
3. Be prepared for a mental as well as a physical struggle. Physically, unless you are asymptomatic, you will experience some sort of bothersome or even serious symptoms. Thankfully, mine have been relatively mild, but still unpleasant. One morning I had a fever and felt like I had to be extra conscious of my breathing. I couldn’t be sure if it was just in my head or if I really did need to concentrate to breathe. That kind of confusion adds to the struggle of the disease.
I wouldn’t wish COVID-19 on anyone. Adding to the mental struggle of being quarantined, there is the loss of physical contact with loved ones and the reality of being unable to fulfill normal responsibilities.
The apostle Paul dealt with his own physical struggle, but considered it a tool to help him learn humility (2 Corinthians 12:7).
4. Know that, like any trial, this will test your faith. Trials of our faith are vital to help us grow (1 Peter 1:7). When we are in the midst of the storm, we can’t panic or jump ship, but must trust God to calm the waters and get us to the other side. James reminds us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3).
To learn more about this verse, read “4 Ways to Find Joy in Trials.”
This point is important as we move forward because we can expect mental stress or anguish to intensify as the world gets worse and worse, as the Bible says it will in the end time. As we approach those times, we need to trust that God will never leave us or forsake us. This is the mind-set we must have to be faithful to the end. If this crisis is part of the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7-8), then we must be able to endure a lot more yet to come.
I did begin feeling somewhat betrayed because of how I believe I contracted COVID-19. I felt those around me had been careless (not social distancing or wearing a face covering). I had to let a day or two pass and try to remember that anger is not a fruit of God’s Spirit. Satan can use anger and resentment against us.
Paul wrote, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Hopefully you won’t have to face this pandemic physically, but we all are dealing with the reality of its impact on life and the way it has reshaped our world. Regardless of whether you contract it or not, we all will have to continue living and facing the reality of the world we live in now.
We need to continue facing it with the right attitude, with concern for others, and with a stronger desire for the Kingdom of God to come.