On Saturday December 26th, I preached a funeral for a woman who died from complications related to COVID. A month earlier, this woman was home with her husband, trying to get over COVID. Three weeks earlier, this woman buried her husband who passed away from complications related to COVID. For the last two weeks of her life, this woman was alone in the ICU trying to recover from COVID related health issues. She passed away just 22 days after her husband of 59 years.
When I think about this woman’s last month on earth, I can’t help but feel sad. I feel the weight of the loneliness she felt in losing her husband of six decades. I feel the weight of the loneliness she experienced in the hospital.
I also feel hope. I feel hope because this woman was a Christian woman. She had repented of her sin and trusted in Jesus for salvation, which means she was never alone, even over the last month. As a Christian, she had the presence on God in the person of the Holy Spirit with her every step of the way.
Some may hear this hope and laugh, insisting that the presence of the Holy Spirit doesn’t change the fact that this woman was really alone. However, the Christian faith is all about believing in things that cannot be seen. Christians have always believed in invisible realities. In fact, we believe in invisible realities that are even more real than the COVID virus, ventilators, coffins, and death certificates. God’s people have always been people of faith, believing that the presence of God with his people is a real thing even when we can’t see it, even when we can’t feel it.
- Abraham wasn’t alone when he set out for his future home … God was with him.
- Jacob wasn’t alone when he laid his head down on a rock to sleep … God was with him.
- Moses wasn’t alone when he floated down the Nile in a basket … God was with him.
- David wasn’t alone when he stood in front of Goliath … God was with him.
- Elijah wasn’t alone when he faced the prophets of Baal … God was with him.
- Daniel wasn’t alone when he was tossed to the lions, and his friends weren’t alone when they were tossed to the flames … God was with them.
- Stephen wasn’t alone when the rocks began to hit his head … God was with him.
- Paul wasn’t alone when he was shipwrecked at sea … God was with him.
- John wasn’t alone when he was exiled to Patmos … God was with him.
Likewise, Sandra wasn’t alone in the ICU … God was with her. That’s the hope of the Christian, and that’s the hope of Christmas. In the birth of Jesus, Immanuel has come. Jesus is God with us, God come to live among us. Jesus died our death. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus ascended to heaven. And yet, even though we don’t see him, we believe his promise to be with his people to the end of the age. We believe Jesus is with us in the person of the Holy Spirit. A Christian is never alone.