By Pastor Manny Silva – Evangelical Christian Fellowship, Fall River, MA
“When we think we are going to die, it’s a serious thing. The most desperate need that all human beings face is the need to conquer death.”
I was thinking about all the Covid that has accelerated lately around the world. This is my experience that I had with it last year. In 2020, everyone was right in the middle of the first major wave of Covid in the country. In late March, a few days after my birthday, I became sick with what I thought was the stomach flu. A few days later, I seriously thought I was going to die. (At 65 years old I was certainly in a higher risk category, although I have no serious health issues and in pretty good health for my age.)
I had finished preaching at church on Sunday. We went home as usual and everything seemed fine. The afternoon went rather normally. But by the time it was evening I started feeling lousy. It seemed to me like I had a stomach flu. My stomach was aching and felt all “mixed up.” I also began feeling fatigued. I felt no other symptoms, there was no fever, no coughing, or sore throat, or loss of taste.
I did some research and put myself on the BRAT diet, which is a regimen that is recommended for stomach related problems. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast. That’s all I had for five days, along with water.
I did not call my doctor as I was not too concerned. Since I had no fever, and my symptoms were not the typical covid-like symptoms that the world was worrying about, I felt no need to call my physician, at least not right away.
By Monday night, I was EXTREMELY tired. In fact, I had never felt this level of fatigue in all my life. I had the flu a few times in the past, but it was like a walk in the park compared to what I was feeling. By now, I was only getting out of bed to get more water or fix something to eat (if I was home alone). When the family was around, I was glad for them to do everything for me.
By Wednesday, the fatigue felt worse. I called my doctor’s office, and explained the symptoms I had to the nurse. After about five minutes, she got back to me and said that because my symptoms were not indicative of someone with Covid, I would probably not even be able to get an appointment to get tested. Well, okay I said, it is what it is. I guess I will just have to ride this out. She said what I was doing was just fine and to keep resting with lots of water to drink.
By Thursday night, it was getting ridiculous. My fatigue was still keeping me down, and I could barely spend more than a few minutes on my feet. The fatigue had pretty much worn me out, and it seemed like I could not take it any longer. I truly thought my last days were closing in on me, that’s how bad my body was feeling.
“DO YOU MIND IF I HANG AROUND A BIT LONGER?”
I started praying again to God. It was a straight, matter of fact prayer. I said to the Lord “Dear God, I know I am ready to go if it’s my time. I am at peace with You. But if You wouldn’t mind too much, I’d like to stay a little longer on this earth, for the sake of my wife and children. I feel they still need me here for a while. But if not, no worries, I’m ready.”
I was at peace with God. I knew who my Savior was, and still is. Jesus Christ is the only reason I could stay calm and at rest even in the middle of what I thought was the end of my life. In fact, if I had died, I knew exactly where I would be, and how I would be. I would be in perfect health, in mind, body and spirit. It was not a particular kind of courage that only few have, because I’m just another ordinary person. But it was the same kind of assurance that any believer in Christ should have when they are anticipating passing on to eternity.
By late Friday afternoon, I finally developed a fever of around 101. I somehow went to sleep with little trouble on Friday night, still feeling extremely fatigued. Probably the exhaustion just wore me out enough to fall asleep.
Saturday morning on April 4, I woke up as if I was a different person. Other than feeling a little hungry, I felt perfectly fine. My stomach pains were gone, and there was no more fatigue. What happened to the long recovery process for Covid patients? How did my symptoms disappear overnight? I don’t know. But I thanked God for getting me through this, and giving me more time.
Later that afternoon, Monica started feeling sick. She called her doctor, and she was sent in for a test, and she was asked to isolate herself from us right away. As I drove around with the boys on Sunday afternoon, she called and said her test came back positive. By this time I then had to take a test myself, but I was already recovered and I tested negative. (Later, the antibodies were found in my system, confirming I had had Covid, which allowed me to donate plasma later).
Monica had the “typical” symptoms, and she eventually recovered after about ten days. The boys have never had Covid to this day.
When we think we are going to die, it’s a serious thing. The most desperate need that all human beings face is the need to conquer death. We will eventually be defeated by death on this earth, no one can escape. God knows our appointed time, and that cannot be avoided by any of us. As I take my vitamins daily to fight off viral infections, I am not under the delusion that I am guaranteed protection.
God can heal. But it is true that He heals some and does not heal others. Why is that? Because God is God. God knows what’s best because of His wisdom. And sometimes God knows that healing us may not be the thing we most need. But God can always be trusted to do what’s best for us. That’s why I had no fear of death on that Thursday night.
There is nothing especially admirable about me in this story. This is not something I wrote in order for me to receive praise of any kind, because I don’t deserve it. This is a testimony of my experience. But what was special was that I knew for certain that God has promised to always do what’s best for us, and He does every time. And on that I can rest peacefully.
Are you ready to die? Are you ready to meet God? The Bible says “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Heb 9:27). You will meet God someday. I pray that you will be ready, and the only way to be ready is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what saves you, and that’s what prepares you for eternity with God. If you think you’re a good person, think again. The Bible says that “all we like sheep have gone astray and every one of us has turned to his own wicked ways.” The Bible also says that “all our righteousness is like filthy rags” on the eyes of a holy God. Only Christ can save you, not your good works, nor any religious philosophy.
Death can defeat us here on earth, but Christ has conquered death, and when we are in Christ, we too have conquered death.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39, NKJV)
The Bible says that, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 If you confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
If you aren’t prepared to leave this life perhaps now is your time, none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Say a simple prayer like this,
Jesus, please forgive my sin. I know that you died for me and have a plan for my life. Please teach me your ways and help me to live my life for you, free from the fears of this world and the next. Help me to be grateful for all this life brings my way. I want to start a new life with you. Amen
Congratulations, if you have prayed this prayer the Bible says, “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2Cr 5:17
If you’ve prayed this prayer for the first time or are renewing your commitment to the Lord, please let us know so that we can pray for you as you start your new life in Christ.
Please stop in and visit Pastor Manny and his friendly congregation at 190 Cherry St, Fall River MA. at 9am on Sunday morning at 190 Cherry St, Fall River MA. For additional information please call 774-264-4413.