DUBLIN, Ga. (BP) – After an intense battle with COVID-19 and pneumonia for multiple weeks, Georgia pastor Samuel Rogers rejoices that he has “seen the goodness and kindness of God like I never have before.”
Rogers is the lead pastor at Cross Point Community Church in Dublin, Ga., and first began experiencing symptoms of COVID in late July before being diagnosed with COVID pneumonia Aug. 2. His wife also tested positive as well as three of their four children.
After initially being treated in the emergency room in early August, Rogers said he spent the next three weeks back and forth between the emergency room and time at home with oxygen assistance.
During the worst of his sickness, he said he could barely get up to go to the bathroom without the assistance of oxygen, had trouble sleeping and didn’t have enough energy to feed himself. Doctors told him he was the healthiest person they had seen become so sick with the virus.
It was after a conversation with his wife that Rogers said he was convicted about the way fear was affecting him during his struggle.
“Fear consumed me after a while, and I can’t imagine feeling more anxiety than I felt then,” Rogers said. “My wife pulled me aside and said, ‘This is not you; you’re not acting like yourself. This fear is consuming you.’ I started to think and pray differently after that conversation. God spoke to me through her. It opened up a door to prayer and trust for me.”
Consistently reciting Psalm 23 is what Rogers said set him on the right path spiritually and got him through the hardest moments.
“God was healing me, but He was also showing me all these spiritual issues in my heart that needed correction,” Rogers said. “I was giving up the blessing of today by worrying about what hadn’t happened yet. Our hearts naturally go towards fear, but God is a God of peace. God was prepping me in those moments to realize He’s my help and God is in control.”
Rogers also said he was incredibly blessed by the support he received from his family and church body, including a special moment where his 13-year-old daughter asked to read the Bible with him. The passage chosen just happened to be in 2 Corinthians 1, speaking about the God of all comfort.
“I can’t think of a time that I felt more loved,” Rogers said.
After initially being hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine because of an existing heart condition, Rogers said he is now leaning towards getting the vaccine after talking with doctors and considering his experience.
Rogers said when people ask him for advice on vaccine consideration, he emphasizes examining the facts and not making a decision based upon fear one way or another.
“I’ve considered the vaccine differently now,” Rogers said. “I’ve never been an anti-vaxxer. I encouraged my parents and a lot of other people to get the vaccine. It’s a decision everybody has to make for themselves, and I think we need to be kind and respectful.
“My advice to people is look at the facts, pray about it, make a decision and then live with your decision. People should not make a decision based on fear. There is a lot of unknowns, but most of the people who have been getting very sick were not vaccinated, so it looks like it’s effective. I don’t think I would have been as sick with the virus as I was if I had gotten it.”
This week marks the first consecutive days Rogers has been able to sleep without the assistance of oxygen. As he hopes for a continued recovery, he said the reminders about God’s character will be his main takeaway.
“I’m at the point now where it scares me to think that I wouldn’t have experienced what I did as He worked in my heart,” Rogers said. “I wouldn’t give up what He taught me through it. It was nothing that I didn’t know or hadn’t taught before, but He proved them real to me.
“God is always doing good to His people. If something bad happens in your life He wants to do something good through it. A God like that is worth trusting.”