Christina Ray Stanton who served Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City for the past ten years as the short-term mission's director, shared her story of battling coronavirus on the Gospel Coalition.
Stanton who is also an author of her book, "Out of the Shadow of 9/11: An Inspiring Tale of Escape and Transformation explained how those two moments of nearly experiencing death turned out so different as she fought back the coronavirus with "faith in God".
However, it doesn't mean that her symptoms were light, and the process of discharge was easy.
It was just right after she came back from Florida from a week of spring break that Christina spent in New York. A week full of Broadway shows and sightseeing and then symptoms of the sickness. Christina felt general malaise feelings: headache, fever, body aches. Her eyes stung and reddened. She lost all sense of taste and smell having insatiable thirst. After multiple symptoms including terrible diarrhea and frightening fainting spell and 102 degrees of temperature, she and her husband, Brian visited the hospital.
"The rest of the family, including my nieces, were starting to show symptoms as well, although not nearly as extreme as mine. Luckily, no one else in the family was hospitalized. I prayed, 'Please restore their health, Lord! Please don't let them suffer with a heavy case of this!'" She reflected in her writing.
After being discharged from the hospital, she had to continue to fight the virus at home as the hospital is only for life-threatening situation. However, she had to visit the hospital again after the painful chaos of vomit, diarrhea, and other symptoms so severe. "I was sure it was going to be my last night on earth. I felt hopeless and terrified. This virus wasn't letting go." She added.
Finally, when she got an answer from her doctor that the chances of survival is about 50/50, she found it eerily familiar to September 11, 2001.
"On that fateful day, Brian and I were on the balcony of our 24th-floor apartment, six blocks from the World Trade Center. We were standing there, staring at the black smoke and destruction caused by the first plane, when out of nowhere the second plane came roaring overhead and struck Tower 2 just 500 feet above us," she noted in the article.
They had escaped to New Jersey by boarding a boat but couldn't go back to their apartment for months. They grappled with unemployment, PTSD, and ongoing health issues including "9/11 lungs" effected by inhaled toxic dust.
However, that time of suffering led her to a different dimension of faith when she came to the possibility of death. "When Brian and I were in Battery Park as the towers fell, I had asked him if he thought we were going to survive," "These might be my last moments on earth, I realized. I didn't know where I was going if I did die. I became painfully aware that I didn't possess a relationship with God, that I'd only ever lived for myself," She reflected.
That moment brought her to the decision to "explore a deeper connection with God." She said she never wanted to feel that alone again. After getting help from monetary assistance of Redeemer church, the couple became members and took jobs with the church. They experienced incredible spiritual growth through personal study, community groups, and various church activities.
Remembering the experience nearly 20 years ago, she found the grateful fact in bed prayer in hospital room. "Although I was entirely alone, unlike in Battery Park, I never felt alone during my illness. I knew the Holy Spirit was with me. A deeper relationship with Christ gave me the courage to navigate the scary days of the virus in a way I could have never done on September 11."
"At the same time, gratitude overwhelmed me when I realized I had weathered this storm with God as my Rock and my center, as opposed to suffering through the terror of 9/11 when he was not. And it made all the difference," She testified God's sovereignty and goodness.