Ladies and gentleman, it happened. Neither Ivan nor I tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began – then both of us went down a few days apart at the end of April. This isn’t really noteworthy since everyone seems to have had the virus at least once already.  However, I feel obligated to announce our defeat for the sake of those betting on how much longer we were going to make it Covid-free. 

What I do find noteworthy is looking at what the Bible says about caring for your spouse sacrificially when both of you are sick. God clearly had our upcoming trial in mind when he ordained what sermons Ivan and I would hear and what Scriptures we’d be dwelling on before our Covid downfall: Our church is working through a series on the book of Philippians, and we’d just launched a “Read Philippians” challenge with our small group.  Philippians 2:5-8 was planted firmly every way we turned, a giant billboard with flashing neon letters:

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,

he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

It’s hard enough to emulate Christ’s attitude when a loved one is sick. We all have at least one friend or relative who’s reasonable, lovable, and would never, ever take our slap-in-the-face-obviously sacrificial care for granted. Like all of God’s commands, we need the power of His Holy Spirit to “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) and serve that person without demanding anything in return.

But what if you’re both sick? Does this become an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine?”

[Insert your reaction of choice], no. Paul’s command applies to both partners equally, which means both of them should be equally willing to sacrifice their good for the good of the other. The principle that keeps this from turning into a self-oriented transaction is that each spouse should be motivated by their love for God and desire to obey his commands, not by their partner’s ability or willingness to return the favor. This “God first” mentality ensures God will be glorified, protects us from worshiping ourselves, and also enables us to bless our spouse with the same grace we’ve received in Christ.

And that’s where I must say, “Praise the Lord!” and “Thank you, Ivan!” Ivan’s Covid was uncomfortable and disruptive but not serious. I enjoyed playing “nurse” for a couple of days (to be honest, I didn’t put myself out too much), only to wake up very sick halfway through Ivan’s quarantine. Sparing unseemly details, this was not Ivan’s Covid. At all. Suddenly he was back in his old caregiver role: feed (unsuccessful), bathe, bathroom, laundry. It was like we had rewound our lives five years. I have no idea how he was feeling because all I could think about was me. 

I praise the Lord that Ivan finished his first week back at work relatively strong and we didn’t need to take unpaid leave. But he’s still been doing most of my housework since I’m really struggling with fatigue. Most of all, I praise God for enabling Ivan to care for me the last couple of weeks. We’ve gotten so used to my being fully functional that we were (at least I was) shocked by the amount of work it took just to get through one day. It’s easy for me to sit here theorizing about obedience as I yawn over my coffee. Ivan, however, was faced with the very real choice to “rest up” like he deserved or deny himself by caring for me when I hadn’t earned it. 

 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~John 15:13

2 thoughts on “When Covid Comes Calling

  1. I’m so sorry to hear you both got COVID. That is hard but thankful Ivan’s was not as bad as yours. Praise God he could get back to work. School will be over soon so hopefully you will have time together. Praying for both of you as you get completely well.


  2. Thank you, Grace, for another timely application of God’s word! While I’m so glad you are both through the worst of it, I pray you and I remember that our unconditional love from God (and from our Godly husbands) isn’t earned. ❤️


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