Influence

 the shape of leadership

God’s Hand in All Things

I was aware of my father’s impermanence and my own mortality

Gregory M Mundis Jr on July 13, 2020

COVID-19. These eight characters elicit a host of emotional responses from nearly every person on the planet. The virus has infected millions, but affected billions.

My father and mother became infected with the coronavirus within a week of each other in mid-March.

My father, Assemblies of God World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis, fell ill with moderate symptoms on a Thursday. By Friday, he was feeling very ill, and despite our efforts to get him tested, he was denied the opportunity.

The weekend approached, and it became quite clear to us that my father had COVID-19. On Sunday, it was confirmed that colleagues he had spent time with the week prior had tested positive. By the time he was able to get in for testing on Monday, my father was already critically ill.

My father’s oxygen levels were dropping below 70%, and his body was showing signs of severe infection, so my mom called for an ambulance. He was admitted to the intensive care unit, where doctors recommended urgent intubation.

I was able to speak to my dad by phone moments before this procedure was performed, not knowing it would be 47 days before I would hear his voice again. It was obvious Dad was anxious and his body was starving for oxygen. However, his primary concern was for my mother, who was not yet symptomatic.

In this moment, I became aware — aware of every word spoken, aware of all the movements of my body, as if watching from afar. I was also aware of my father’s impermanence and my own mortality.

Awakening. Awareness. Sensitization. These define the journey this microscopic organism has sent me on. My father’s daily battle with the virus made thousands around the world aware of the physical devastation it can cause and moved them to pray for his healing.
Isn’t it just like God to take a mess and work His wonders?

The lens through which I viewed the world changed in a moment’s time. My focus narrowed to my father and his survival. Things became very clear to me in those moments on the phone with my father. Clarity and peace came with focus, even in this time of uncertainty.

The following two and a half weeks were the most difficult of my life. My mom was ill, alone, and quarantined at home with no one to care for her. My father was in the ICU on a ventilator with no visitors allowed. My sister was separated from her husband, who was quarantined in isolation secondary to international travel. My wife and I were separated by 1,600 miles as she was helping our four kids with school at home.

But isn’t it just like God to take a mess and work His wonders? I could say God changed my heart, but that is precisely what He didn’t do. God took me on a journey to show me the heart He gave me to begin with, the heart that was “fearfully and wonderfully made” in His own image (Psalm 139:14).

Awakening, awareness, sensitization involve stripping away the layers we all put on ourselves. It is our nature to add; it is God’s to subtract. Over the years, I have added unhealthy habits of working too much at the expense of my family, traveling too much in the name of my career, and allowing my schedule to dictate availability for the relationships that matter most.

The message of the gospel is so simple. Yet we complicate it. My dad’s illness helped me wake up and shed the unnecessary layers.

Fifteen days into his ICU stay, I received a call from the critical care doctor who said they were at a loss as to what to do for my father and asked me to sign a do-not-resuscitate order.

I unequivocally knew God’s plan for my father’s life was not to let go. Within hours, we were able to get him airlifted to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Over the next three weeks, he stabilized and returned to us.

My father still has a long way to go with rehabilitation, but his very existence is a daily reminder for me to be aware of God’s calling, to stay awake to those in need around me, and to be sensitized to God’s hand in all things.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 edition of Influence magazine.

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