July 2020 – Celebrating 26 years of marriage, dining at a favorite restaurant, counting God’s blessings, recalling good times. Sounds like a perfect evening. Until …
Until Charles (photo above) suffered a sudden escalation of the fever that had annoyed him for a day or two. Charles and Shae Billingsley cut the evening short and headed home. The fever didn’t let up, so he soon went to the doctor seeking relief for his flu symptoms.
Resenting the sickness
The timing for sickness was certainly frustrating for Billingsley, a worship leader and teaching pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.
After all, Holy Week was coming up. His new CD I Was Made for This was releasing April 10. He had interviews, events, and responsibilities. He had a full calendar. Places to go. Things to do.
“It’s not the flu,” his doctor said. “I know you don’t have COVID-19, but why don’t we do a test anyway?”
Days later on April 1, Billingsley got the test results: positive. He self-quarantined for several days and only grew weaker. On April 9, his oxygen level was 84%.
According to Mayo Clinic, anything below 90% is dangerous. Billingsley’s doctor ordered hospitalization.
“If it takes a dive,” his doctor told him, “and you’re 20 minutes from the ER, you won’t make it.” Fortunately, after a few days of intense pain, he began to improve. The best part of the month came April 20, when a follow-up test showed him free of the virus.
“It was Shae’s birthday,” he said, “but I got the best birthday present!” Even so, he was still recovering from double pneumonia a week later when he talked with AFA Journal.
Remembering God’s Word
Billingsley said the COVID-19 ordeal reminded him of a few principles Christians should never forget – in sickness or in health.
“First, life is tissue-paper thin,” he said. “Life is fragile.”
Clinging to one’s faith is “absolutely essential,” he added. He grew disappointed and frustrated, even angry, with God.
“I prayed for a quick miracle,” he said, “and that’s not how it worked this time.” Second, God reminded him that “faith is not seeing and then believing; faith is believing and then seeing.”
Third, he said believers have to practice the truth that fear is never an option. His faith was reinforced by Paul’s challenge in Philippians 4:6 (NASB) – “Be anxious for nothing.”
Finally, he was reminded of this key scriptural theme: Keep your eyes on Jesus.
It’s an experience Billingsley is glad to leave behind, but he is grateful for growing stronger in the suffering.
New project – powerful worship Charles Billingsley’s I Was Made for This is a rich treasure of a dozen songs that transport the listener deep into four major biblical themes – why we exist, the reality of sin, the truth of the gospel, and worship.
Billingsley’s rich vocals float atop stirring melodies that are perfectly fitted to the powerful lyrics. It is sheer authentic worship.
“Rise Up” is a message for the body of Christ: Shake up the dust of your slumber/Wake up and see the day dawn/Lifting your eyes to the One/Who shines like the sun.
“Sing for My Soul” is a plea to the Holy Spirit to pray for man when he cannot pray for himself: If this pain inside of me is a kind of melody/Holy Spirit, would you please sing for my soul?
“Where You’re Supposed to Be” reassures the troubled or discouraged: You’re in the grip of His hand/Maybe the eye of the storm/Is the center of His plan.”
Available at christianbook.com and other music sales sites.