Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Some of you are aware, but probably most of you don’t know this, that two of my sons probably contracted the COVID-19 virus about a month ago and have recovered in a good way. The reason that I say “probably” is because they had three of the symptoms in a mild form – a slight fever for 2-3 days, sore throat for over a week plus the COVID TOES (frostbite-like condition) yet when Joseph was tested about a week ago, the test results were negative (which we think means that his body has sufficiently dealt with the virus). Today Joseph will have the antibodies test performed and he should know by Friday – if he does have the antibodies, he plans on donating his plasma so that others can benefit from those antibodies.
As a family, we are concerned about the impacts of this virus yet, because of our missionary living overseas, we are not quite as anxious as many are in this country because we have experienced the ability of our immune systems to deal with the viral and bacterial attacks that came our way.
Most missionaries, before they are allowed to serve overseas, have to be vaccinated so that their bodies can be prepared for the viral and bacterial risks that they will face in their new homeland; for example, we were vaccinated for yellow fever, rabies, hepatitis a, hepatitis b, typhoid, etc. (at the time the ages of our children were 11, 10, 9, and 6).
On several occasions, for up to a month at a time, we had to take hydroxychloroquine (anti-malarial), along with two other anti-malarial drugs, depending on the part of Africa we were visiting; and when we contracted tick bite fever (similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever but more dangerous than that) we had to take doxycycline for ten days to knock it out.
The reason that I share this is that God has given us an amazing and marvelous immune system that is able to combat the viral and bacterial attacks that come our way; in addition to our immune systems, He has blessed us with gifted researchers and scientists who are able to develop new drugs (along with the repurposing of existing drugs to address a broader range of disease such as hydroxychloroquine) that threaten our physical wellbeing; and we have many fine doctors and health care workers who are able to apply these medicines so that our bodies can be treated and blessed.
That being said, the older we get the more at risk we become with this COVID 19 virus; and it reminds me of a devotional thought that Paul Huneke and I discussed together when he became ill: the length of a man’s life is seventy years, eighty years if he is strong. In our conversation that day, we both prayed that Paul would be one of those strong ones who would reach the age of eighty (and beyond) yet the Lord called Paul home at age seventy-two.
Our closing prayer comes from these words that St. Patrick would pray each day while he served as a missionary in a very violent and pagan Ireland, a land and people that daily threatened his physical wellbeing…we pray:
I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me…God’s might to uphold me…God’s wisdom to guide me…God’s eye to look before me…God’s ear to hear me…God’s word to speak for me…God’s hand to guard me…God’s shield to protect me.
Christ with me…Christ before me…Christ behind me…Christ in me…Christ beneath me…Christ above me…Christ on my right…Christ on my left…Christ when I lie down…Christ when I sit down…Christ when I arise…Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me…Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me…Christ in every eye that sees me…and Christ in every ear that hears me.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.