Amy Patsch Headshot 2021.jpg

Amy Patsch

NOTE: Please consider a digital subscription or contribution. For more coverage, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

My husband and I took a road trip to North Carolina. Neil wanted to deliver a quilt display rack he created in his woodshop to his cousin, Beverly. She has begun quilting in earnest, and he made this beautiful piece as a gift for her.  

Beverly married one of Neil’s Air Force roommates, and he and Randy always enjoy spending time together, so this made for a delightful visit. We were also able to meet up with one of my cousins and his wife, and the joy of renewing these friendships gave us a lovely, if short, pleasurable vacation. 

When we arrived home after four days on the road, I felt tired, which wasn’t totally unexpected, but after sleeping 20 hours a day for the next three days, I realized something was seriously out of order with my body.  

I saw my doctor first thing that Monday and tested negative for Covid. Three days later, however, when I finally went to the emergency room, I tested positive and was admitted to the hospital for two days. 

Even though I slept a lot in the hospital, every fiber of my mind, body, and soul was calling on Jesus’ name to remove that virus from my system. To His Glory, He did. 

Why did I survive this disease while others have not? It is a question several friends and I have had since the pandemic began – why one and not another? We would like to know God’s will, but can we? 

I read a book this year by Eric Metaxas, entitled, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy." In it is a letter written by Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his former seminary students, informing them of some of their fellow students' deaths on the eastern front during World War II. I found this letter was helpful in my search for answers. 

Bonhoeffer wrote, in part, “… In the face of death, we cannot simply speak in some fatalistic way, ‘God wills it,’ but we must juxtapose it with the other reality, ‘God does not will it.’ Death reveals that the world is not as it should be, but that it stands in need of redemption. Christ, alone, is the conquering of death. Here the sharp antithesis between ‘God wills it’ and ‘God does not will it’ comes to a head and also finds its resolution. God accedes to that which God does not will, and from now on, death itself must therefore serve God. From now on, the ‘God wills it’ encompasses even the ‘God does not will it.’ God wills the conquering of death through the death of Jesus Christ. Only in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ has death been drawn into God’s power, and it must now serve God’s own aims. . .” 

Sin entered our world, with death as the punishment. Yet, God does not wish any to perish. In 2 Peter 3:9, we read, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 

I believe Bonhoeffer’s letter must be read entirely to fully understand his explanation of God’s will, but this short excerpt gave me a new viewpoint. Those of us that are left behind may consider death to have come prematurely to a loved one, but God sets the date and time for each life to begin and end. 

I am still here because God numbered my days before the beginning of time (Job 14:5), and evidently, my bout with Covid was not my time to go home. The choice was God’s; His will was done. 

The Bible tells us that all that happens in the lives of those of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior is done for our good. (Rom. 8:28-29). God’s plans are good for His children, and yet, His plans are not always our plans. Because we may not understand God’s plans, we may fail to see the good. 

While I was ill, I considered what good the illness might be doing in my life. God was possibly reminding me to depend on Him. Obviously, He has a plan for my future, which now includes that He will be glorified by my testimony of His healing. 

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we see that our purpose on earth is to glorify God. Because I am still here, I plan to continue giving God the glory and honor He deserves. 

One of the most special testimonies I can give is of my husband’s ceaseless efforts to make my recovery as easy as possible. He cleaned the house, shopped, cooked, did laundry, and even ironed as he prayed over me and with me each day for healing. When that day of sickness arrives, how wonderful to know that my faith-filled spouse took those wedding vows of “in sickness and in health” to heart. 

I was also touched by God’s mercy in sparing our cousins, their spouses, and my husband from the virus. Everyone is doing well. Praise God. 

Through my illness, I was reminded that our lives can change instantly. We do not know the date eternity will begin for us. Now recovered and realizing that my work on earth is not done caused me to write to one of my nephews, reminding him that he has not chosen life with Jesus as his Lord. That choice matters in eternity.  

I pray that he and those who have not thought this through will do so soon. We do not know how many days we have left on earth and therefore, we should choose wisely. 

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. 

Recommended for you

Get 'The Wrap', a new way to get the news.

We wrap up the news from the Shore you love, and deliver it to your inbox, weekly.