Pursued by God: How COVID Brought Me Back to Jesus

As I mentioned in my last post (that happened to break a 4+ year blog silence), The Ice-Breaker Article: When Beliefs Become Your Own, these past few years I’ve spent re-examining my beliefs. And have arrived back at Jesus once again. But how that happened, especially these past three years I’ve been sober, is a story in and of itself.

In May 2019, after about an eight month relapse, I finally landed at rock bottom–again. I was ready to do whatever it took to get sober and find my way back to the way things were when I was loving and following God.

In 2008, the first time I had ever tried to get sober, and the year I discovered Jesus, I had found Him by going to a 12 Step fellowship and working said steps. For me, the 12 Steps were like John the Baptist, announcing repentance and making a path for God Himself.

“Make ready the path of the Lord, make His paths straight!”

John the Baptist (Mark 1:2-3)

So when I had finally had enough of trying to live life Michael’s way, I decided to go back to what had guided me to Jesus in the first place.

Well, it worked. I got clean and sober. I was praying every morning again, trying to live less selfishly by helping others, ready the Bible again, and trying to get to know this God. However, there was something missing. Though I read the Bible and would pray every day, I still wasn’t completely sold on Christianity. Like noted in my previous post, I was still re-examining old beliefs.

This is a point where I say that the relentless pursuit of God is a very real thing. God is completely confident in Himself (duh, right?). He’s not threatened by our doubts, our fears, or our questions. And I had a lot of questions. So His grace increased in my life and I continued growing, even though I wasn’t 100% His yet.

In the months preceding all this, I can see that God had been preparing the soil of my heart for the seed He was soon to plant. A friend had invited me to attend a bible study of a new church at his grandmother’s home. I had had lunch with the pastor a few times, him answering my questions and listening to my complaints against the Church in a non-judgmental, yet uncompromising way. I watched a friend’s life change because of this church in a short period of time.

All this, and more, is context for what happened next.

I contracted COVID (for the second time) in October 2021. The first time I had it, it wasn’t that bad. I was sick for maybe three days, no worse than a head cold. However, this time was a bit different. I’m pretty sure it was the Delta variant. I was sick for seventeen days. No energy, no motivation to even get out of bed. My depression (something I’ve struggled with on and off for many years) started returning with a vengeance.

Around day three or four I realized I hadn’t prayed or even thought of God since I had gotten sick. Not once. I had known many friends and acquaintances in recovery that relapsed after catching COVID. I now understood why. I knew if something didn’t change, I was going to follow suit.

One day, I made a conscious decision that I was not going to go out like that. I was going to summon all the strength I had (which wasn’t much) and get connected with Him again. So I opened up my Bible and tore through the New Testament like it was medicine. I found the letters of Paul, namely Ephesians, to be like water in a dry desert.

I finally decided that my life belonged to Jesus, and not myself. All the questions I had seemed to be answered, or become inconsequential. The 12th Step reads: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…” Well, this experience was a spiritual re-awakening. I was reborn.

Soon after, I was re-baptized. I became a member of said church and started serving there and doing what I can to help out. I am now being discipled by the pastor there.

Conclusion

COVID was and is a terrible thing. Many have lost their lives. I’ve lost family and, indirectly, friends due to overdose and relapse during the lockdowns and not having access to meetings. But much like what Joseph said to his brothers after they sold him into slavery in Egypt, what [COVID] meant for evil, God meant for good.

Through many times in my life (this particular situation being but the tip of the iceberg) I can see the relentless pursuit of God. He pursues us with an endless love, beckoning us to come (or return) to Him. I have blasphemed Him, denied Him, cussed at Him, and broken His heart–never mind the sin I have participated in. Yet He has done this and countless other thing to bring me home.

So if He’ll do this for a sinner like me, I’m confident He’ll do even more for you. Just say, “Yes!”

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