As death tolls rise across the country, it’s easy to wonder how we’ll all make it through the crisis.
But incredibly, more and more people are sharing encouraging stories of surviving the coronavirus.
And one singer’s story reveals a key factor in his survival.
Charles Billingsley, a Christian singer and worship leader from Lynchburg, Virginia, began feeling coronavirus symptoms after an anniversary dinner with his wife.
At first he thought it was only a low-grade fever or the common flu. But as he went about his everyday activities, he gradually realized that it was more serious.
His initially mild symptoms developed into a three-week battle with the coronavirus.
He quickly took steps to self-isolate as his symptoms worsened, hoping to keep his family safe. As his fever rose, he prayed for the safety of those around him.
“And somehow, someway, by the grace of God, my family stayed negative the entire time,” Billingsley said. “I don’t know how; it’s a miracle of God.”
But Billingsley himself was getting sicker, and within a week, he was admitted to the hospital. The medical staff quickly determined that he was in grave danger.
“My blood work and stuff was just off the charts,” Billingsley shared. “This is a cruel, cruel virus. It attacks you neurologically and physically.”
The singer spent two nights in the hospital, receiving precautionary medical care. As his symptoms started to level out, his doctor gave him bad news—and a choice.
“Your blood work [is] actually worse today than it was yesterday,” the doctor told Billingsley.
She gave him the option of either staying in the hospital or going home to attempt recovery.
When Billingsley expressed his desire to go home, the doctor warned him that his lungs might shut down altogether.
“[If that happens,] you won’t get back here…you’ll die,” she told him.
But Billingsley chose to take a step of faith and responded, “I think I’m willing to take that chance.”
He knew that only one thing could help him recover from the life-threatening illness: prayer to the God Who created Him.
“I came home and just prayed for a miracle,” he admitted.
It was a time of “wrestling with God,” Billingsley said. “It’s funny when you wrestle with God, you lose but you end up winning.”
“That’s really where I turned the corner…and I learned something about faith.”
The singer reflected, “I was reminded…how weak my faith really is, because you see what I was praying for was healing on my terms, on my timetable. What I wanted to do was see the Lord heal me so that I and everyone around me would deepen their belief in Him.”
“But that’s not how faith works…rather than seeing Him heal me so that I would believe in Him more, what He really wanted me to do was believe in Him more, and then eventually, I would see Him heal me.”
After a stint of oxygen therapy at home, Billingsley finally recovered from the dreaded virus. He found himself immensely grateful for the grace of God through the whole ordeal.
“I never had to go on a ventilator. I’ve never had to…go through all those steps that so many other people have had to go through,” he admitted.
“My doctor told me…‘If you weren’t in half decent shape you’d be dead.’”
Although the doctors attributed Billingsley’s full recovery to his state of robust physical health, the singer knew that it was all due to the mercy of God.
“It was a real wake-up call for me—just how grateful I am for life,” Billingsley added. “I’ve learned a lot of lessons and I’m just so grateful to be coming out on the other side.”
As if recovering from COVID-19 wasn’t enough, Billingsley also released his latest album (I Was Made for This) in early April.
“I know the timing of this, it could not be better and it couldn’t be worse,” he laughed. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
“That title cut is really just about living a lifestyle of worship and doing what we were created to do. What I need to remind everybody is that means, not just during the good times, but during the worst of times as well.”
Billingsley’s story is a reminder that prayer is the critical element in our fight against COVID-19! Let’s be faithful and unceasing in our prayers for those affected by the virus.