Our Hope Endures

I recently watched a YouTube video of Joni Erickson-Tada’s testimony after her battle with COVID.

You can watch it here. If anyone is vulnerable, Joni is.

Joni’s testimony gives me so much peace. I dip into moments of fear especially when I recall the two weeks in ICU in March NOT due to COVID and previous situations similar to March in the past several years. Brushing shoulders with death is not foreign to me.

Medical providers are worried that COVID would be a death sentence to me with my fragile body, heart, and lungs; Yet, my life is an endless list of miracles.

The challenge of this season remains living boldly and confidently in the peace of God while not living recklessly.

With the reality that I am not a candidate for the COVID vaccine, I have often asked the Lord, “Will this Covid dance ever end?”

In light of this uncertainty, here’s what I know:

I am called to choose wisdom above the fear that threatens to engulf the heart of the vulnerable, and, in fact, every human being: because we are all vulnerable.

I am not afraid of death. I’ve seen the throne room, and it is nothing but unspeakable glory and rapturous joy.

I do, however, struggle with fear of the suffering that leads to physical death. Even in that dread, I call to mind that I know and have experienced the peace of God that passes all understanding through my frequent travels through the valley of the shadow of death. I’ve been there, and truly, His presence is so tangible in that space between earth and eternity that it eclipses the suffering.

My eyes have beheld the glory of the coming of the Lord.

With that being said, love calls me to fight for life to the extent that I am able. I find the challenge to be the act of setting my ear to the heart of the Father and tuning in to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, in order to know each step to take in this season of constant threats to my physical existence.

I like to say I am committed to remaining earth-side for benefit of the lives wrapped up in my own, but I do not fear the transition into eternity.

In my moments at the threshold of eternity, I have experienced and tasted the magnificent glory of the Lord. Those moments have challenged the sting of death. Whether I live or die, it is for the glory of my Lord.

Ultimately, when all is said and done, I cannot control the outcome. All I know to do is to trust and take each moment with my hand in the hand of the Almighty. He has never failed me.

I choose to trust. I choose to walk in wisdom. I choose to challenge fear as it arises and place it under the Lordship of my good and beautiful God who loves me.

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

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Pastor Al Gilbert

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