COVID-19, Immunity, and a Mother’s Heart

COVID-19, Immunity, and a Mother’s Heart

Four weeks ago, my son Nathan tested positive for COVID-19.

As much as I’ve prayed, consoled, faithfully worn a mask, and stayed informed about current COVID information, I have to tell you that the reality of this virus didn’t hit home for me until it attacked someone I love.

Immediately, I began asking Jesus to preserve the life of my boy and to draw the young man closer to Him in this time when I knew he was feeling afraid. My son is thirty years old and long past needing his momma’s care, and yet, finding myself over nine hours away and limited by travel restrictions was a frustratingly helpless feeling! I don’t know what I could have done if I had somehow been able to reach his bedside, but not having the option to be there made this momma’s heart yearn even more to be able to do “something.”

I thought a lot about “something,” and I realized that the only tool that Nathan had with which to fight was his immune system. As you probably know, there is presently no cure for COVID-19. There are also precious few drugs that make a difference. It seems that many people experience the virus in different ways. Nathan experienced massive headaches brought on by the virus. He tried to address these headaches with Ibuprofen, but it didn’t have any effect whatsoever. To make things worse, many doctors aren’t seeing coronavirus patients unless it’s an emergency. In most cases, COVID has to run its course until the human body (hopefully) gains victory over the foreign invasion of the virus. The first line of defense against this persistent virus comes from our immunities and antibodies.

With a son who was very sick, I decided that I needed to learn as much as I could about COVID-19 and the immune response. To get informed, I did what any twenty-first-century mother would do; I Googled it.

The internet, as always, provides nearly unlimited amounts of information, but I was looking for a credible source (something which isn’t “unlimited” on the internet). Thankfully, an article published by the Harvard Medical School caught my eye. The writer stated, “Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle.” I resonated with that line of thinking. It squared with my Adventist worldview, so I read on. The article gave the following ways to follow a healthy lifestyle to give your body its best chance:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.

As I read through the list, it sounded familiar to me. The suggestions from the Harvard experts were quite similar to what was written over a hundred years ago by a little old lady by the name of Ellen White. Recognizing the similarities, I grabbed my old beat-up copy of The Ministry of Healing from the shelf and began to flip through the highlighted pages. As I did so, I was gently reminded of what God shared through His prophet over a century ago. She wrote:

Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies.”

—The Ministry of Healing, page 127

As an Adventist, I’ve often heard these choices marketed by the acronym “NEWSTART.” You may be familiar with this or several other programs we’ve used to promote a healthy lifestyle (which is a good thing). Regardless of which program we prefer, I’ve noticed that we seem to gravitate toward the “remedies” we like while ignoring the ones that are inconvenient or step on our toes.

As I contemplated the two lists before me, I felt a bit like homesick Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” You may remember the scene. Dorothy is told that she had the power to go home all along, but she simply didn’t realize it. Was I like this? Had I ignored or somehow de-emphasized the truth because I wanted a more “respected, credible, or modern” source? The words from God’s prophet once again reminded me that no matter how aged it may be, the truth is, well, truth.

Mrs. White continued,

It is far better to prevent disease than to know how to treat it when contracted. It is the duty of every person, for his own sake, and for the sake of humanity, to inform himself in regard to the laws of life and conscientiously to obey them.”

—The Ministry of Healing, page 128

In a decaying world full of evil and human weakness, there aren’t any guarantees that even the most conscientious among us will be able to avoid COVID-19. We’ve known for decades how to strengthen our bodies for this battle. Perhaps 2020 is the time for each of us to take this divinely inspired counsel to heart.

Nathan was much too sick to feel like talking on the phone, but his momma did send him a good share of reminder texts:

“Good morning! How are you feeling? Don’t forget to drink tons of water!”

“How did you sleep? Make sure that you get a lot of rest! Don’t overdo it!”

“My friend said she would go to the store for you.  What kinds of fruit sound good?”

No matter the distance, a mother is always a mother.
No matter the years, truth is always truth.