I Am Positive: Having Rollercoaster Faith in an Uncertain World
by Kathleen Y’Barbo
On the day my only daughter said yes to her wedding dress, my mother called to say she had a positive COVID test. We were celebrating with two of her bridesmaids over lunch on a lovely patio overlooking a waterway near my home.
Then the call came from my eighty-seven-year-old mother. “The test came back, and I am COVID positive.”
In an instant, I went from giddy mother of the bride to concerned daughter. My mother lives two hours away. We’d missed seeing her for our annual Thanksgiving due to the virus pandemic precautions we elected to take.
My mother never met her maternal grandmother because she died in the Spanish Flu pandemic of the early 1900s. In that moment, I wondered if my daughter, the radiant future bride who still wore traces of the morning’s smile, would someday have a child who could say the same thing. That her grandmother was lost during the pandemic of 2020.
All in a matter of hours.
And then my mother had the audacity to laugh. Not at the awful disease that has kept so many vigilant or in outright fear. Not at the circumstances. Not even at the timing, for she had not yet known where my daughter and I had been that morning.
No. My mother laughed because the worst had happened, the virus we’d all been hoping would never touch us had found her. See, in that moment, my mother wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t anticipating a rapid decline or worse. Yes, my mother was positive, but she was also positive about something else: her faith.
God allowed this, and He would have His way, and that was that. In the meantime, despite the circumstances, she would stand on His promise that His will would be done. He would have the final say, and it wouldn’t change a thing—except possibly to ruin her day—if she allowed a positive COVID test to make her forget this.
Am I advocating that you ignore the facts to pretend everything is fine? Absolutely not. But she was COVID positive and God positive all at the same time.
Maybe you’re reading this at a time when the pandemic is just a memory. Or maybe you’re looking at the world through your windows and wishing you could go back out in it and enjoy life as you did before the virus arrived in your state, your town, or your family.
Does it ever feel as though you’re on a rollercoaster with highs and lows coming so fast you cannot catch your breath? I don’t know about you, but I was never a fan of rollercoasters. I preferred the teacups that spun around and left you a little dizzy but never left the ground.
A small difference, you say? Tossing about is still tossing about.
Perhaps, but I like the idea of being firmly on the ground even as I’m holding on for dear life. And isn’t that exactly what we do as children of God? We hold on tight. Lift our eyes to heaven and keep our feet firmly planted, even if the ground beneath them is shaking.
Psalm 56:3-4 says it all, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”
What can a mere virus—or fill in the blank with whatever darts the enemy or the world is firing in your direction—do to me?
When the rollercoaster is high and the view is lofty and beautiful or when you’re careening down toward a valley that you have no idea of its depths, God is there. When the click, click, click of the car inching its way to the top is grating on your nerves summit, He is there. When you’re slowing down at the end of the ride, He is also there!
But in the moment? Where is your faith? It’s only as far away as your decision to laugh. Or at least to acknowledge that God keeps His promises. He loves me. He loves you.
I’m positive of this.
What are you positive about?
Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than 100 books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Student and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., Sisters in Crime, and American Christian Fiction Writers. Find out more at www.kathleenybarbo.com
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