Through the Watches of the Night: A COVID-19 Testimony
By Kevin Spear
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. —Psalm 63:6-8 NIV
Kim Marvin had taken all the precautions to avoid any risks of contracting COVID-19. She was diligent due to her chronic respiratory conditions. Furthermore, as the communications manager for Salem Church of God, she was able to work from home and had been doing so since March 2020. If she met anyone, it would be outdoors, distanced, and with masks. She and her husband were surprised when she started experiencing symptoms in December.
Kim soon knew she was experiencing something different. On December 9, 2020, she had fever, chills, and fatigue. Yet she never had a cough. After she tested positive for COVID-19, the symptoms seemed to subside. However, on the morning of Friday, December 18, she began to experience difficulty breathing. Her oxygen levels started dropping. She and her husband had to make a difficult choice.
They knew Dan, her husband, couldn’t go. He held her as they prayed. Then he packed her bags and called for an ambulance. At the hospital, they confirmed her oxygen levels were too low. They diagnosed her with COVID-19 pneumonia. The staff told her she would be going to the COVID-19 Critical Care Unit.
Subsequently, Kim spent the next seven days in critical care. Her oxygen level soon dropped from 90 percent to 77 percent. She couldn’t leave her bed. She said, “My lowest moment was when a hospitalist was standing at the end of my bed with such concern in her eyes. She reiterated that my body was in great distress, and asked me if I was willing to go on a ventilator.” Kim told the physician she didn’t want to, but would do anything necessary to save her life.
Kim knew she wasn’t alone. As Dan got the word out, many lifted her up in prayer. Her life group, the Salem Church staff, other churches, and friends across the country prayed for her healing. Kim said, “Those prayers brought me close to God. As I laid in that hospital bed, I could feel his presence. His peace washed over me. I talked to him out loud in that dark room, and he was there!”
Kim filled her mind with Scripture and worship. She credits the YouVersion Bible App with being a great help. “You can tap on how you are feeling, such as “If you have anxiety….” In turn, you can watch videos of pastors that would read a verse and talk about that subject.”
Psalm 63 was of great comfort for her, as was Psalm 23 and “The Lord’s Prayer.” She would listen to praise and worship playlists on Spotify and fill her soul with God’s truth.
Seven days after she was hospitalized, on Christmas morning, Kim’s nurse announced that she had progressed enough to be moved out of critical care. Kim said, “I cried. I had made it through the battle… God had seen me through!”
That evening, she was transferred. Dan was waiting for her and videoed the event. “My heart was so happy!”
The Compassion of Strangers
Kim remarks that one of the best parts of the experience was the compassion of the hospital staff. “Since my family and friends were restricted from visiting, the nurses, doctors, and aids became my human connection. As the weeks went by, I began praying for each of them and their families. I got to know each of them. We talked about their experiences with COVID-19 and much more. I shared my story and the presence of God and his great love for us. I still pray for them every day.”
Kim was discharged on December 31. She returned to working part-time at Salem Church on January 25. While she has residual symptoms, she is praising God for His continued healing, for the prayers of so many, and for the hospital staff that cared for her.
Kevin Spear has worked for Warner Christian Resources (formerly Warner Press) and has regularly contributed time and talent to the work of Church of God Ministries. He is a ministry partner with his wife Paula, an ordained pastor in the Church of God.
Learn more about the response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including resources for you and your church, at www.jesusisthesubject.org/theway.
Feature (top) collage: Salem Church of God exterior, Kim and Dan Marvin.