I anxiously await the doctor’s assessment with sweaty palms and a sore throat. It’s early in the morning now as I sit alone on the doctor’s bench. Hating going to the doctor’s office alone, I attempt to comfort myself. “You are fine, girly. You are just seeing what’s wrong like an adult. The doctor will tell you that you are fine, give you some antibiotics, and you can go home”, I thought to myself. Finally, the door swings open, and my doctor stands at the doorway. “Tameka Hacker?” I nod my head sheepishly. “You have covid. Oh, and that throat of yours, yeah, that’s Covid throat,” the doctor said curtly.
Although the doctors had seen this all before, the shock that my horrifically swollen tonsils were not just Strep brought me to tears. I waited in a patient room until 2 am to hear this. I was invasively swabbed in the throat and nose, topped off with blood drawn to listen to this. A whirlwind of emotions came to me, but the clear one was anger. Why on earth did I have to get Covid?! I kept to myself mostly and right when I thought to be more friendly; BOOM! “You have a covid throat.” This was certainly not what I meant on my vision board. I wanted to be more outgoing, be with friends and family, not in my sick bed with coronavirus.
Even the best plans change.
I recalled all the times my friends and I war-gamed for zombie apocalypses. We would all make bets on who would get bitten, who had enough skill to be on the team, and where we would survive. This pandemic was all the fun of a zombie apocalypse without the zombies. It just turned out that I would be one of the first of my friends to get the disease. It wasn’t glamorous or even glorious to have covid, and the most I had to look forward to was isolation, getting well, and time to think. The doctors told me to measure my oxygen levels, and if they were too low, I would have to go back to the hospital, even call an ambulance. This wasn’t a game. I had something that could, if not watched, take me out. Part of me would rather have a zombie in the room with me. At least I could be done with the ordeal faster. As I sat alone on my side of the house for quarantine, I realized some people don’t go home. Some people died from Covid. It could’ve been me if it had not been for the Lord on my side and the wisdom to get a shot.
I was blessed because it wasn’t the worst-case scenario.
We think that we have all the time in the world to accomplish what we want to achieve, not recognizing that tomorrow is not promised. If you find you are still here on earth and alive by the grace of God, don’t waste your time on useless thoughts or things. Now is the time to be everything that you can be for the Kingdom of God and yourself. Life doesn’t owe you a week, much less eighty years, so make your life count. This could be having children, running your own business, or mending old relationships, and thinking of how you can best live life following Jesus is a great way to start.
Jesus exemplified prioritizing what we can do with our time when He heals a blind man He meets on the street. The disciples were busy trying to figure out why the stranger was blind while Jesus took the initiative to help Him.
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”
John 9:1-7 NKJV
So often in our lives, we sit around and assess why and how we need to complete a task, never realizing that the job just needs to be done. No matter how dirty the work can get or ugly our situations, we should get to the hard work of living rather than sit on the sidelines wishing about what could be. Jesus didn’t hesitate to help the blind man because He remembered who He was called to be. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. It didn’t matter what the ‘perception’ was of the blind man; He knew the reality of what needed to be done for the kingdom. So often, our time is wasted because we do not realize our purpose for being here on earth. As believers, it should be our priority to get out into the world and be a light. When you see something that bothers you, that is your sign to get to work. It is more popular to talk about issues in our culture rather than getting our hands dirty to solve them. Jesus got to the good work of healing and spreading the gospel, even if it meant unpleasant circumstances for Him. This is especially clear when Jesus spat into the ground, made clay and put it over the blind man’s eyes. This shows us that not every breakthrough in society or even our lives will come about in a picture-perfect way.
As I sat in quarantine, I noticed how the popular pastor Mike Todd of Transformation Church experienced a scandal of epic proportions. He demonstrated this very scripture at his church by spitting it into his hand and wiping it on his brother’s face. I don’t bring this up to make fun of him or condemn him. Mike Todd has written books that have changed lives, spread the gospel, and actively changed a culture of apathy to believers. If you have cameras pointed at your face long enough, you will mess up too. It was disconcerting how other Christians jeered at him while commenting from the sidelines. This gossip was shared as if they didn’t have his books in their bookcase or admired his donations to additional churches weeks before. He apologized as he should and then preached a vulnerable message called “Here is Holy” the following Sunday. It takes guts to be a believer, and it takes endurance to continue after failure. Jesus told all believers to follow Him, no matter the personal cost. Michael Todd obeyed God when He called him to preach, even without knowing ridicule would be on the road ahead.
‘Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ‘
The world will never agree with everything you do. The narrow road isn’t easy, and people will have their opinions. Following Christ is not for the timid or faint of heart. You have to be ready for any mishaps along the way, recognizing that you will fall on this journey of sanctification. You have to pick yourself up again and keep moving forward. It is not for us to relinquish the call on our lives just because the road gets tough. If Mike Todd can get back on stage and preach the gospel after being embarrassed by the world, we can be a light to our communities.
Do it for Jesus and not the crowd.
As I sat in my chair with a sore throat, cough, and clogged nose, I thought of all the time I wasted overthinking. I asked God and myself a myriad of questions about life. How can I be a wonderful wife and future mom? Do I write four books? Can I even finish this book? How can I make an impact at work? Should I even do a podcast? Do I Have enough time?? Then God let me know something significant. There needs to be a purpose with our time and attention for a more impactful life rather than just a busy one. Jesus always knew His goal and acted within His purpose. He never let peer pressure from the disciples or societal norms convince Him not to do what was best. As believers, we have to keep showing up for our call, saying, “Here I am, Lord!”. All the trials and tribulations seem like bumps in the road compared to the glory waiting for us on the other side. So, the sniffles, sore throat, and night sweats were all just temporary setbacks for me. When I got out of quarantine, I became determined not just to stand by and watch but be here for Jesus.