While waiting on a family member with some general viral symptoms to get tested for COVID-19, I found myself anxious. The anxiety stems from both concern and a feeling of helplessness. I am a caregiver by nature. As a Family Nurse Practitioner for over a decade my brain is wired to observe and analyze symptoms, formulate a differential diagnosis and then provide a treatment plan. Acting, doing, being part of the solution is how I am hard wired. When I am unable to do much of anything my brain at times feels like it is going to short circuit. Thus coupled with my deep care and concern for my family member and this feeling of wanting to (as we say in the south) fix something and yet being unable to do so, I have a lot of potential and kinetic energy balled up within me.
So what do I do in times like these? I rely on my faith and turn to scripture. This past Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. So yesterday morning as the nervous energy was building to a crescendo I turned to the 23rd Psalm. As I read over it, song began playing in my mind. It is Jon Foreman’s song”House of God Forever” which is essentially his music interpretation of Psalm 23. Reading over the Psalm, hearing the song in my mind and praying for my family member, one portion of a verse caused me to pause, “For thou art with me.”
FOR THOU ART WITH ME- I wanted to be with my family member to calm them, hold their hand and assure them. I could not . I wanted to be there doing all the things I know to do to help a person’s body overcome any viral illness. I could not. I wanted to make it all better. I could not. I had to lay my family member (yet again) at the feet of Jesus. When I did so and turned to this Psalm reading that very phrase caused peace to flow over me. I cannot be with my family, but GOD is. I am limited. GOD is not. For thou art with me comforting me from my helplessness and anxiety and thou art with my family member comforting, guiding, healing them.
Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are easily stirred up when illness, disease and fear of death or even death itself enters the stage. It is a sober reminder that this world is passing away. Though we who are in Christ know well the hope that lies beyond is greater than we can imagine, no one embraces loss.
What a difference 24 hours makes. My family member is improving. The test results were negative and things are looking up. However, I have been in the valley of death and dying when we had to bid farewell much sooner than we ever wanted to or felt we should. There for certain I knew thou art with me. In the fears and uncertainty of tomorrow and what the future looks like as we all grapple with the new normal that is unfolding due to this global pandemic, thou art with me.
Come what may, thou art with me.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. FOR THOU ART WITH ME; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.Psalm 23:4