The Moment: Confronting The Prospect Of Death By COVID

For the past week, a persistent fever in the 100-102 range, chills and seemingly insatiable exhaustion have been my constant companions. Coming back from Bethany Beach Monday was a tough slough. Fever hit 103.5 that evening.

Before you say it, I felt like something was creeping up on me the day before we headed over there. It made for a pretty miserable time. Sunday I stayed back at the house.

Physician’s assistant said Tuesday morning it sounded like a mean viral infection that she didn’t think was COVID. But, just to be sure, she scheduled me for a test today.

Taking two 800 milligram Tylenol would knock it down for a couple of hours, but yesterday afternoon, my stomach said “no more of that stuff for us.” So I went back to my usual dose of 600 milligrams of Ibuprofen.

The instant I woke up at 6 am this morning, I knew the fever was gone. Took my temp three times just to see it displayed and it was actually a little below normal at 97.

But that’s not the story here.

It had crept back up to 99.5 when I reported for my test, the one where they tickle your brain with a cotton swab of some sort. I warned the guy doing the test not to hurt me. He didn’t and it was over in 30 seconds, results promised in 48 hours.

That’s not it, either.

There were 18 cars in the line ahead of me, so I had time to listen to some tunes and think about the past several days. In the process, a moment from 20 years ago came flooding back to me.

Remember 2000 and the catastrophes that didn’t happen in the new millennium?  I had an emergency double bypass in August, thanks to a 90 percent blockage of my “widow-maker.” At one point in the procedure, I was technically dead for four minutes. Even so, the recovery was quick and I went home two days later.

That weekend, Claudia, our daughter Ginny, and I were having lunch on the deck, talking casually about how good God had been during the past events.

When I got up and headed to the kitchen to get something, I noticed Hillsong’s “Through It All” was starting. It was the first three stanzas that stopped me in my tracks, but especially the last sentence here:

You are forever in my life.
You see me through the seasons.
Cover me with Your hand.
And lead me in Your righteousness.
And I look to You
And I wait on You.
I’ll sing to You, Lord, a hymn of love
For Your Faithfulness to me
And I’m carried in everlasting arms
You’ll never let me go through it all.

 

Friends, I was overwhelmed as I’ve never before been in my life with a surging desire to thank God for all He has done to save a wretch like me. Yes, there were some tears, a lot actually.

It was quite simply the most incredibly sweet moment of gratitude and joy I had ever experienced. It was a moment and then it was gone, though the Holy Spirit blesses me with a taste of a reminder every now and again.

Fast forward to today in the line waiting for the COVID test. I know, given my age and pre-existing condition, that I am right at the doorstep of being especially vulnerable.

So, my mind is cluttered with thanks for the fever results and fears that it may still be COVID, I might not be able to care for my precious Claudia, see my grandchildren grow up, or as, Paul instructed Timothy to do, “keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY.”

At that precise moment, a Phil Wickham song, “The Living Hope,” reached this stanza:

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope

In that instant, it was the same sweet, humbling burst of joy and pure gratitude as in 2,000. I was filled with acceptance of whatever may come in the days ahead, and, as before, for just a moment, it was as if God gave me a millisecond to experience  what He has in store for His children, of which I am one by His will.

Ephesians 2:8-10 has long been among my dearest scripture verses:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

I know He prepared me for HillFaith. I love Capitol Hill and the people who work there (yes, all of them, Dems and GOPers), and He’s given me an irresistible desire to share Him with every person willing to sit and talk for a few minutes.

So maybe the test results will be positive and my days ahead here could be few or many, it’s not an automatic death sentence. Or the results will be negative and I will praise Him for allowing me to continue this ministry He has given me for as long as He wills.

Here’s the bottom line: However He has prepared things, I will walk in them praising His name.

And one more thing, these kinds of blessed moments are God’s alone to give, so run as fast as you can away from any preacher who tells you all you have to do to be guaranteed the same experience is “claim it.” That’s not how God works.

I’ll let you know how it goes and all prayers are appreciated.


MORE QUESTIONS WORTH PONDERING:

Fermi’s Paradox and Can There Be Some Slack Here and There in This Finely Tuned Universe?

Are God and His Mathematics Why the Universe Adds Up?


 

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/

35 thoughts on “The Moment: Confronting The Prospect Of Death By COVID”

  1. MAXIMUM DAILY DOSE OF Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has been reduced to 3,000 mg / 24-hour period from 4,000. Toxic levels of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) cause liver failure. Even if treated promptly, you may not recover and death ensues! I have seen it happen in youngsters and adults too many times! You need to read the label and talk to your doctor about medication dosages.

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    1. Mark, I’m just a confessional Lutheran so I guess my concern for Tylenol OD should be ignored as well as my concern for you.

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      1. No way, Paul. I very much appreciated your concern, as I was not aware of the Tylenol limits since I never take it. It does nothing for me when I have a headache, thus the Ibuprofen. And I don’t often have headaches. I’m a sober alcoholic (since March 1, 1991,), so I learned long ago to minimize my drug intake as much as possible.

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  2. Just because you are in “that group” and you test positive does not mean that you will die of it. It is turning out that covid is much more common than we thought and most people don’t even know that they have it and your symptoms are already gone so the worst may be past.
    Too much of the media has us believing it is a death sentence but it is not necessarily. Put your trust in the lord. If he wants you it is your time, if not then you will be okay

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  3. Thanks for sharing Mark! Love reading your blog and appreciate the work you do in sharing the love of Christ in such a tough place! Praying for your work, grateful that you are feeling better!

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  4. BTW, does your cardiologist know how much Ibuprofen (Motrin) you take? Ibruprofen effects your bleeding time (coagulation time). If you are on an anticoagulant already (considering your cardiac history), you may lengthen your bleeding time. Also, couldn’t someone have driven you considering your symptoms and fever? That would have been safer for you and others on the road.

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  5. Lord, please be with Mark in his time of need. Shower him with your love, mercy, and grace. Protect him and his family and give him healing and guide the doctors with wisdom so that You can continue to empower him to spread your Word as he is so well equipped to do. We rejoice in his faithwalk with you. Please continue to lead and guide him and reveal Yourself to him through the Holy Spirit with the love that transcends understanding. Amen.

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  6. Said a prayer for you Mark. Those moments are precious and it’s impossible not to cry when God’s Holy Spirit covers you in awareness of His love. So beautiful. Blessings brother.

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  7. Prayers up!! And God bless. This is a lovely bit of writing and you are blessed in your visitations by the Holy Spirit at crucial times to comfort you. But “Death by COVID” for your title…? Really? Isn’t that a little click-bait breathless? When sane peoples look back at this year in retrospect we’re gonna realize how spun we let the media get us, and headlines like these just feed into the frenzy. Any flu can get any of us in our demographic in any year, and there are other flus going around besides Wuhan. Feeding into the Wuhan frenzy by a title like this before you even know the results is just…well, to me it’s disappointing in a thinker of your caliber. But again prayers up and Godspeed. Try some elderberry syrup, vitamin D, vitamin C , and zinc. Quit breaking the fever with ‘profen and ‘nol. Fever burns off the little microscopic bastards that try to kill us. All the best and please excuse the carping. Just a peeve.

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    1. Peeve acknowledged and appreciated. I did indeed ponder that headline, particularly that specific word, Prospect. I debated between it and other possibilities but finally decided that having the prospect of something is no guarantee of actually getting it but is a recognition of the possibility. Others would perhaps make a different word choice. Having been an news editor for many years, I know the difficulty of selecting just the right word. As for click-bait, if it functions in that manner, let’s pray that folks who have not heard the Gospel will read this and respond. Thanks for writing, Amy, I appreciate very much your thoughtful comments.

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  8. Back in February I was in the hospital after having my tonsils removed- tonsil cancer. Five days after the surgery I suddenly began hemorrhaging, a very dangerous development. As my room filled with nurses and doctors and an operating room was rapidly prepared for emergency surgery, I was frightened. So I repeated a simple prayer- “Jesus, hold me.” Immediately I calmed down. I knew that whatever happened, including death, I would be ok, and though I was not looking forward to the pain and discomfort of doctors shoving things down my throat to stop the bleeding, I knew I could handle it.
    Later that night a couple of the doctors stopped by. I was up and exercising. One of them said, “You were the calmest person in the room. You did everything we needed you to do.”
    No surprise, considering who was sitting there on the bed with me.
    Since then I’ve gone through radiation and chemo and have had some low, low moments, but God has reminded me, sometimes through song lyrics, that He is walking with me.
    God bless you, Mark.

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  9. It really is difficult to describe these glimpses of eternity to people who have no notion of the spiritual world that surrounds us, or how a momentary experience can totally reshape your worldview. It is a hidden reality that can only be accessed by faith, and explains how someone can rest in the “peace of God that transcends all understanding” in the midst of things seemingly falling apart. Thanks for sharing, I pray that a Third Great Awakening will come so that many friends and neighbors will share the same experience.

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  10. Mark,
    I sat here at my work desk and prayed for you as soon as I read this. I have been in that moment. It’s a moment when you must lean into the love of God, no matter the circumstance or how it may turn out. I was paralyzed on the operating table listening to the surgical crew realize I couldn’t throw off the paralytic from the surgery and breathe on my own. A week before I was sick as a dog and convinced I had stomach cancer. What can you do but either despair or trust God to be faithful? In those moments I knew it didn’t matter if I lived or died, what mattered was the love of God.
    Remember 2 Timothy 4:5-8 “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing.”
    God bless brother! Keep up the good work

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  11. I will add you to my prayers.
    What touched me in your story is those moments of sheer joy!
    I have also experienced moments of such joy and sweetness in recognizing God’s love working in my life. I cherish them still and also get brief reminders when I need the peace that passes all (human) understanding.
    God bless.

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  12. I love how you included the lyrics to meaningful songs. I have personally experienced extraordinarily timely songs which *could* be a coincidence, but at the moment, certainly seemed Providential. God is good – all the time. We say that routinely, but He means it every moment.

    But as a side note, you are/were sick. It really doesn’t matter if it is Covid. A positive Covid test doesn’t mean you’re gonna die; conversely, a negative test doesn’t mean your illness is not significant.

    But your work is meaningful to me. I have appreciated your joining the instapundit team long ago, and you’ll be in my prayers…

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  13. Thank you for the work you do here, Mark. I pray that you will soon be well. I have had two bang-ZOOM moments when I believe the Holy Spirit reached out to me specifically through music. One happened about 12 years ago or so. I was going through a few weeks of unexplained dark times; I don’t have particular problems with depression or anxiety but for some reason was just not feeling much sense of my purpose in the world. At one point I got in the car and felt especially bleak, so I had a minute of silent prayer and told God that I was sorry to be moping around, but that I really could use a sign of His presence. I turned the key, the radio came on, and a song I had never heard play before (or since) on any station I listen to was playing: Jesus, Take the Wheel. Hello, Lord, and thank You very much!

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  14. Hi Mark,

    You are on my prayer list. You have ministered to me so much through Hill Faith, and I look forward to seeing the Hill Faith newsletter in my inbox. I pray for your healing, and that the Lord continues to be tangibly by your side, and in your heart. Please read about zinc ionophores. Hydroxychloroquine is a zinc ionophore, but so is quercetin, and EGCG. You can purchase quercetin and EGCG (found in green tea) as supplements. I do not know the proper dosages, but they allow zinc to enter through the cell wall where it retards the CV-19 from replicating. Enabling zinc to enter the cell is what does damage to the virus. I also take a liquid form of zinc marketed by Wellness One. 10 drops equal 15 mg. of zinc, which is 100% of the daily requirement. What’s good about the liquid form is that you can tailor it to your specific needs. I was taking a tablet zinc supplement that had 30 mg./ per cap, and it caused stomach upset, and i had to discontinue using it. Check out these links: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf5014633# and this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionophore#Zinc_ionophores. God Bless you Mark.

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      1. Hi Mark,

        One thing I left out that I need to tell you is that take zinc with food, and not on an empty stomach. Taking zinc on an empty stomach will cause major stomach upset. You are an encouragement to many of us.

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