“Sometimes we have to experience misunderstanding from unsympathetic friends in order to learn how to minister to others.” These were part of Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on Job 16:4, that resonated in my heart.
Seated by the fireplace reading, grounded again for the third Sunday in a row due to COVID, I found myself replacing the words “unsympathetic friends” with “COVID.”
“Sometimes we have to experience COVID in order to learn how to minister to others.”
How blessed I have been to be healthy for over two years with no colds and only my typical back issues. I’ve been hiking, running, navigating ministry through the pandemic, on and on and on! Then . . . everything changed in one day. Symptoms which led to a positive test, feeling miserable, infusion, recuperation.
What did I need to learn again? I needed a fresh reminder of what it looks like to be a minister of mercy/compassion just like Jesus as demonstrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ (Luke 10:34-35).
What does that look like? Well, here are some thoughts, in random order, that I jotted in my journal to remind me in the days to come.
- Life changes so quickly . . . live in the moment. That may be all that’s left here. (James 4:14-15).
- If the Lord nudges you to minister to someone, go. (Luke 10:34)
- There are times when you are feeling so bad you do not have the energy to pray beyond, “Lord, help me!” If you are strong physically and spiritually, be sure to pray for those who are weak and weary. They need your intercession (James 5:16). Perhaps, call them . . . not to chit-chat but to simply say, “I want to pray with you, and then I’ll end the call.”
- Ask the Lord to give you wisdom as to something beyond “If you need anything, call me!” 99% won’t call (I’m usually one of those); don’t want to be a bother or an inconvenience. Here are a few acts of service that I was blessed to receive recently: 1) Bring a meal. 2) Send a text saying, “I’m out at the store. What can I bring you?” or “I’m at Dunkin. Want a donut and coffee?” 3) Do some project around the yard or house. It was a refreshment to hear the lawn mower crank up in the front yard. 4) Drop by with some cookies/snacks or leave something in the mailbox or on the front porch.
- Having said that, accept other’s offers to minister to you. The other night a meal was brought to our front door. Before departing, the gentleman said, “It sure feels good to be on this side of the door” (the giving side).
- Send a text every other day or so. Sometimes the one who is suffering may not have the strength to read it and respond, but don’t be afraid to reach out, either. Perhaps a card of encouragement in the mail.
- Store up the Word of God in your mind for times like these, when you’re too sick to read or listen to anything.
- Consider the caregiver. He/she has picked up the ball for two people all the while serving the ill. They need encouragement and help, too.
How blessed to have a wonderful wife, our dear immediate family and loved ones, close friends, and our precious church family!! Most of all, oh, the goodness of God in the midst of stuff like COVID!
Yes, “sometimes we have to experience “COVID” in order to learn how to minister to others.” Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me and teaching me again to be moved with compassion.
3 thoughts on “In the School Of COVID”
Indeed!! I have often thought that our God mercifully brings us low so that we may stop our busyness for a season and look around and see the many hurting people all around… and now they are not as alone so much anymore.
Great thoughts! My husband (bi-vocational pastor) and I are the ones who usually drop the soup off; it at first felt strange to be on the receiving end (back in Oct when we both came down with Covid). Because we were caregivers for my elderly parents, we had to stay away from them in order not to infect them. I was stressed and crying to the Lord in prayer — how can you take care of someone if you can’t be with them?! We became totally dependent on the members of our church — they brought food to my parents and to us as well (paper products, too). It was a lesson for us to realize how much “small” gestures mean, and how much the Body of Christ needs one another. My husband was sicker than I was so I WAS able to take care of him after I had had Covid for a few days, but there were a few days where it was hairy. The Lord is faithful to instruct us in anything that comes our way; so thankful for that.
Carrie, thank you for your response to the post! Even more, thanks for transparently sharing what the Lord taught you and your husband through Covid. Glad you are both on this side of Covid! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness to you, your parents, and the strengthening of your ministry in Christ as a result of it all. Psalm 18:30