Encouragement from a Physician
Greetings. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. I want to update you on some thoughts from where I sit as a physician and as a brother.
First, as the great prophet Danny Jones has said, "Church, no freak-out!" The national and state curves are bending in the right direction. As I shared in a previous post, the resources from Johns Hopkins and the Florida Department of Health dashboard are helpful in visualizing this. I invite you to explore more at the links below:
Nationally, we are developing and launching rapid COVID-19 tests that now use saliva or cough phlegm (called sputum) to diagnosis patients within 48 hours. You spit/cough into a cup and the test is run on that specimen. This can efficiently be accomplished with drive-up testing – you don’t even need to leave the car. (We have not yet added the waffle fries and drink option, but Chick-Fil-A is working on it.) Additionally, we are standing up the blood antibody test to determine who has already had COVID-19. This will be most helpful in caring for patients and getting us back to work and about kingdom business…together. Further, there are medications that may be of some value. The FDA and research enterprises are actively exploring these options with patients. A final technique of note has been to take a unit of blood from recovered patients, separate the plasma from the red blood cells, then infuse the plasma into extremely ill patients. The thought is that the plasma from the recovered patients contains antibodies that can then help the active patient recover. This almost sounds like the spiritual transfusion we receive when we accept Christ as Lord! 2 Cor. 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come!"
One of the biggest challenges I see now in America and locally is our impending "I'm going stir crazy!" explosion. We're being told by the leaders we elected to "Stay at home," "Remain in place." It's been several weeks, and it is starting to hurt. We recognize the importance of "avoiding the plague" – the COVID-19 virus. However, many are wondering if it is time to simply re-engage with life and take our lumps. Leadership's vision is to minimize risk and maximize life: the economy, social contacts, arts, and recreation, etc…
It has been said, "Change is constant; growth is optional." There will always be changes in our life. How we react and what we do about the change determines our future trajectory. A corollary to this statement is the phrase, "It's not about your circumstance; it's about your stance." We stand on Christ the solid rock. Isaiah 28: 16 says, "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed." Another version says, "…the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic." That is soooo good to hear, so be encouraged.
To borrow an analogy from medicine, there are instances when a nerve is traumatically damaged, or cut. Nerves grow and extend through an enveloping covering – picture an electric wire within a PVC pipe underground. If a surgeon is able to find the transected ends of the nerve and microscopically suture them together, then the nerve has a good chance of regrowing down the conduit and resuming its prior function. In a similar fashion, our lives have been disrupted. However, if we bring our broken ends to Christ the healer, he is really good at both stitching the ends together and blessing us with healing growth. It is his nature to heal and restore. "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5). While that is prophetically speaking of the future, I cannot help but think we get to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps. 34. 8)… here, now.
Some final practical encouragements:
- In the downtime that you have, consider this cycle of spiritual calisthenics:
- Read the Bible
- Repeat (Steps A and B can be flipped to diversify your training
- Worship the Lord with your body.
- Get out and walk, jog, or ride your bike every day in a socially distant fashion.
- Make healthy food choices. It is easy to sit on the couch Netflix'ing all day or gaming/raiding sunup to sun down. Steward well the time you've been given.
- Introverts – I know you're lovin' life. I are one (sic), so I'm feelin' you. I encourage you to call someone, "zoom" into their life, crawl out of your shell and engage electronically with your kingdom brothers and sisters.
- If I didn’t mention it, pray. Pray hard.
- Prayer is not about the battle; prayer IS the battle.
- Prayer travels at the speed of thought.Repeat (Steps A and B can be flipped to diversify your training
I love you guys. Keep on getting out of the boat and walking on the waves towards Jesus.