Acclaimed singer/songwriter and pastor Charles Billingsley by no means anticipated that main as much as the discharge of his new album, I Was Made for This, he’d be within the battle for his life in opposition to COVID-19.
Billingsley, who’s a educating pastor at Thomas Street Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, was recognized with the novel coronavirus in early April and spent about three weeks battling the virus, which included a quick hospitalization. Concurrently, his new album — his first studio undertaking in two years — was launched on April 10.
The person of religion by no means anticipated to launch an album throughout a pandemic, not to mention fall sufferer to the sickness. And now he’s sharing his expertise to supply hope and encouragement for these within the midst of the nationwide lockdown.
The next is an edited transcript of The Christian Submit’s interview with Billingsley, the place he shares about how his bout with COVID-19 impacted his religion in God whereas close to demise and in isolation.
Christian Submit: How have been you uncovered to COVID-19?
Billingsley: I actually do not understand how I obtained uncovered to it. I actually do not. I take guesses. I used to be on an airplane in mid-March coming again to Lynchburg and there was a woman in entrance of me that was actually ailing and she or he was coughing a bunch and stuff. However actually, I do not know if I obtained it from her or from simply anyone [else].
I got here down with a fever on Friday night time, March 27, which was my 26th marriage ceremony anniversary. Then the fever simply form of progressively obtained worse by means of the weekend. Then on Monday, the 30th of March, I went and obtained examined for the flu and it was unfavorable. So my physician stated, “Nicely, only for enjoyable. I will test you for this coronavirus, however I do not suppose you have got it. Nicely, certain sufficient, two days afterward April Idiot’s Day of all issues, it got here again optimistic.
I wasn’t very involved. However sadly, this factor grabbed maintain of me fairly good and my case went from simply fevers and aches and pains and complications to 10 days straight of 103 diploma temperature to ultimately being within the hospital with my lungs and it simply obtained actually, actually nasty.
CP: How did the virus progress?
Billingsley: I get texts day by day from people who find themselves having signs and so they need to know “Hey, what is going on on?” Nicely, for me, it was fever, after which physique aches after which actually dangerous complications. These three issues, actually. I by no means had nausea or something like that, until it was just a little bit tied to the headache however primarily excessive fever, 103 levels for 14 days straight. Then in fact, the physique aches and the shivers and all that stuff that comes from that. So all I used to be doing was simply taking Tylenol about each 4 hours; that is all I knew to do. However then I had this unusual sensation behind my nostril and throat, this type of this dryness. It isn’t like bronchitis or one thing. In a chilly and stuff, you have got plenty of liquid and drainage. This was not. This was a dry one thing and it was simply bizarre.
I used to be sitting at my home on April 9 in simply distress and naturally that was 12 days in and my physician came to visit and he stated, “Hey, man, I I came to visit as a result of I need to take heed to your lungs. Additionally I obtained your blood work again that we did just a few days in the past” and he stated, “I’ve by no means seen something [like this]. Your blood work is horrible. Your numbers are off the chart. Let me take heed to your lungs.” And he took one take heed to my lungs. And he stated, “I want you to only stroll throughout the room and are available again.” I walked throughout the room, got here again and he checked my oxygen and it was at 84 and also you’re alleged to go on oxygen at 89. So he stated, “You realize, buddy, I hate to let you know this, however you should go to the hospital.” So what was occurring was my air, my respiratory was getting increasingly more shallow and I used to be nonetheless coping with the fever, nonetheless coping with the aches and pains however now it was a respiratory difficulty. And that is when it will get actual severe.
They put me within the hospital simply as a precautionary factor. I by no means needed to go on oxygen, thank God. I by no means needed to go on a ventilator, thank God. My physician checked out my blood work and he stated, “Look, in the event you weren’t in good condition, you would be lifeless by now. That is unbelievable. So I had a extreme case that I did not understand I had.”
CP: Whereas at dwelling have been you with your loved ones?
Billingsley: Yeah, my spouse. … And here is the miraculous factor, one way or the other, someway by means of three and a half weeks of this mess, my household stayed corona free. I do not understand how; it is a miracle of God. The spotlight of my day, my spouse would deliver me a buttered bagel and a few grapes. I do not know why however that was the spotlight of my day for 24 days and she or he would are available in along with her masks and you understand she would attempt to assist me all she might and preserve my liquids and the whole lot stuffed up however she was out and in of that room 5 – 6 instances a day and I do not understand how she did not get it however I am actually grateful for her assist.
CP: You ended up within the hospital. How was that have?
Billingsley: The hospital was the worst half. Primarily as a result of the isolation and simply questioning what’s subsequent. They actually cannot give me something. I used to be on that Z pack after which hydroxychloroquine. I had gone by means of two rounds of that and they also actually did not have any medication to offer me. They tried seven instances to offer me an IV and could not do it for some cause. So right here I sit on this hospital and all they will do is give me some potassium and Tylenol. That was it.
I used to be there extra simply to be on a monitor with my oxygen and there I used to be in isolation for 3 days with no one to speak to and nothing to do besides learn and worship the Lord.
CP: Spiritually, what is going on on in you? Are you feeling like a supernatural sort of scenario occurring together with this sickness?
Billingsley: Let me begin with the pure aspect. You’ve gotten this bodily factor occurring. I might go downstairs and my complete household cleared the room, even my canines have been frightened of me for crying out loud. So you have got this psychological aspect of this complete factor. Then the emotional aspect as a result of it simply lasts endlessly and it wears on you. And due to that, from the non secular perspective of issues, I used to be doing my greatest simply to remain within the Phrase and preserve my thoughts stayed on the Lord and praying and asking the Lord to heal me and in search of His face and worshiping. Nevertheless it wasn’t till I obtained within the hospital and I used to be in whole isolation. Then I actually had some very highly effective moments with the Lord. Some good and never so good.
I imply, that first night time I used to be within the hospital was Thursday night time earlier than Easter. I had a model new file popping out the following day. And I used to be so annoyed as a result of I could not do any interviews or speak to anyone. Right here I’m and I requested the Lord to heal me. It was a kind of moments the place I assumed, you understand what, I am simply gonna ask Him for a miracle. He can heal me. “If you wish to heal me, Lord, you possibly can heal me proper this second. And I used to be simply actually imagining the girl with the problem of blood reaching out and touching the hem of His garment. Right here I’m laying in his hospital mattress and I am reaching out as if I am this woman reaching out for the hem of His garment. I used to be simply in search of the Lord and praying. I actually believed He would heal me in that second and was anticipating a miracle. I used to be anticipating to only name the nurses and the medical doctors and say, “Hey, I am good. I will so long.” And that is not what occurred. As I laid there, half the night time, awake, I obtained extra annoyed and extra annoyed after which I obtained indignant and disillusioned and disillusioned.
I will always remember laying there on Thursday night time, actually simply form of upset with the Lord for not therapeutic me like I assumed He ought to. Instantly, I used to be reminded that on that very night time, 2,000 years prior, the Lord Jesus was in the home of Caiaphas, being crushed inside an inch of His life and being spat upon, and His beard being pulled out and abruptly I felt an enormous quantity of conviction and felt so horrible for being upset over one thing so small when He went by means of one thing so horrific on my behalf.
I feel that was form of a turning level for me as a result of I made a decision late that night time, might be 4 within the morning, that possibly as an alternative of asking the Lord to miraculously therapeutic on the timetable that I really feel like I needs to be on, that as an alternative, possibly I ought to simply go to Philippians 4:6,7, which I’ve quoted 1,000 instances however by no means needed to actually dwell — when Paul says, “Be troubled for nothing and in all issues with prayer and supplication, make your requests identified to God with thanksgiving.” And that is after I thought, possibly I ought to simply do what I’ve instructed different individuals to do. Perhaps I ought to simply begin thanking the Lord for therapeutic me in His time and in His approach and I am simply going to be grateful. And I am simply going to consider that it should occur. So I turned the nook that night time. Then the following day on Good Friday, I spent quite a lot of the time that day simply listening to worship songs and worshiping the Lord. I had a few of the best moments with the Lord that I’ve ever had in that hospital.
CP: You wrestled with God.
Billingsley: Nicely, it wasn’t straightforward and the issue is each time you wrestle with God, you are the one which comes out limping. It is humorous once you wrestle with God, you lose however you find yourself profitable. That is actually the place I turned the nook that night time and I realized one thing about religion. Religion is an fascinating factor. Hebrews tells us that it is the substance of issues hoped for, is the proof of issues unseen. I used to be reminded once more that weekend within the hospital, how weak my religion actually is, since you see what I used to be praying for was therapeutic on my phrases, on my timetable. What I needed to do was see the Lord heal me in order that I and everybody round me would deepen their perception in Him. However that is not how religion works. Religion is the proof of issues unseen. It is actually simply the other. What I actually wanted was what the Lord needed me to do. And that’s, somewhat than seeing Him heal me in order that I’d consider in Him extra, what He actually needed me to do was consider in Him extra, after which ultimately, I’d see Him heal me.
CP: You launched an album within the midst of all of this known as I Was Made for This. How becoming.
Billingsley: I do know the timing of this, it couldn’t be higher and it could not be worse. I imply, it is loopy. That title reduce is basically nearly dwelling a life-style of worship and doing what we have been created to do. What I have to remind everyone is which means, not simply in the course of the good instances, however in the course of the worst of instances as effectively.
CP: So the place are you now with the whole lot?
Billingsley: After I was strolling out of the hospital, I assumed I had a damaged left foot as a result of abruptly I could not stroll on my left foot, it was swollen and it was horrible. Later I discover out that I’ve obtained these blood clots in each my legs. That is simply one other residual factor from this virus. So after I obtained again from the hospital, I had six days of horrible leg ache that I used to be coping with. In fact, the pneumonia. Even 10 days after, I am nonetheless coping with the pneumonia and get my lungs again working. However you understand what? The leg ache has subsided, that the lungs are getting higher, there is no extra fevers, no extra waking up in the course of the night time in a chilly sweat. The whole lot is so significantly better. Immediately, particularly, I really feel as near again to regular as I’ve but. I am simply grateful.
It is nonetheless lively, and it is nonetheless occurring and it is nonetheless actually occurring with lots of people and I simply pray that we’ll all preserve obeying these social distancing guidelines, though I do consider we obtained to get this nation again up or else we’re not going to have a rustic. So it is this difficult steadiness to search out to reopen, however on the identical time, being cautious and all that stuff. So I am simply praying for our nation. I am praying for our management, that we are going to make the best selections and one way or the other, someway, God will see us by means of this factor.
CP: The place do you suppose the world will go from right here? What do you suppose are a few of the classes that we’re studying?
Billingsley: There’s so much. I imply, initially, I feel it is modified our nation endlessly, in plenty of methods. It is form of unhappy, however I do not suppose you are going to see lots of people simply stroll on up and handshaking and hugging one another like they used to, which is unhappy to me.
However on a optimistic notice, I feel the church has gotten stronger, and it is loopy. Even my church, we have realized by means of this the right way to talk to individuals exterior of the auditorium. Church buildings all around the world are studying that and now, the group outreach, the each day touches by the use of video or zoom conferences or neighborhood walks or no matter. It is superb how the outreach of the church has elevated, exponentially. We used to achieve 10, 12,000 individuals a weekend at my church. Now we’re reaching 35, 40,000 individuals a weekend. So in some ways, the church is experiencing revival by means of all this. That is a beautiful optimistic.
I ponder what it should be like once we’re all again within the room worshiping the Lord once more. I hope that by means of all of this, believers can have deepened their stroll with the Lord as a result of, fairly frankly, the Lord is compelled to Sabbath upon all of us. We have now all this time proper now, to relaxation, to check, to study to worship. I simply pray that believers have taken benefit of it as a result of it is just like the Lord simply stated, “Hey, all proper, in case your life goes to be the financial system and your work and all that stuff, I will simply drive you to need to be nonetheless and know that I am God.” And that is precisely what He is finished.