New Phase

I now know someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it’s one of the more vulnerable people that I might have feared could get infected: my friend, John Drage. He’s currently fighting COVID-19 and viral pneumonia on top of cancer in his brain and spine.

It feels pretty scary to know the odds against him. This feels like it ushers in a whole new phase of this thing for me.

I’m not as discouraged about the orders to shelter-in-place. I’m figuring out ways to continue with ministry in this strange new reality, and I’m honestly feeling just about as busy and effective in my pastoral duties as usual. My family seems to be adjusting, too. The kids are figuring out ways to occupy themselves and maybe even bond together more tightly, forging memories that will last far beyond the end of COVID-19. There’s still a sense of grief from the losses that have mounted up, and the losses that might be still to come. But even these things feel a bit easier to leave in God’s hands.

I just feel more exposed to the destruction of the pandemic itself, now that it’s come sniping at my friends. I’m praying for the Drage family. I know they’ve got all their eternal arrangements worked out. But there’s just a heaviness in my heart today. A heavy heart is appropriate, I think. We can either deal with our emotions now or stuff them to fester and boil over some other time down the road. But the sadness is real right now.

Many people are going to die in this pandemic — people who mean a lot to other people. But John himself says that the first and main thing is to “Trust the Lord.” So that’s what I’m going to continue to do and urge others to do as well. We do not grieve like those who have no hope. But we do grieve, and we wait upon the Lord.

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