WEAK IN ONE AREA, BUT STRONG IN ANOTHER
Why do many of the people exposed to Covid-19 fail to show symptoms or have very mild symptoms? It might have to do with their previous battles with the common cold. That’s what a recent (August 4, 2020) Science magazine article suggested.
Covid-19 is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. According to the article, researchers conducted studies in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Singapore on sufferers of the common cold (which is caused by another coronavirus). They discovered that those not yet exposed to SARS-CoV-2 already had T-cells that are “trained” to recognize and respond to this Covid-19-causing virus.
Now T-cells are specialized killer cells of the Adaptive Immune System which develop in the Thymus – an organ located in the upper chest. T-cells are part of the memory immune response. They are trained and equipped to fight specific antigens (viruses, bacteria, fungi) that invade our bodies – based on previous encounters with those specific antigens.
The study on these common cold sufferers discovered that the same T-cells which their bodies developed to fight the common cold virus, are also effective in recognizing and responding to SARS-CoV-2. “We have now proven that, in some people, preexisting T-cell memory against common cold coronaviruses can cross-recognize SARS-CoV-2, down to the exact molecular structures,” stated the author, Daniela Weiskopf. She’s an assistant professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology in La Jolla, California. This accounts, in part, for the reason why many people suffer only mild symptoms or none at all when contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Yes. That same common cold that you always fall victim to every winter, may be arming your body against a far worse enemy. Though you’ve envied those who “never seem to get sick” from the common cold, they may be far more vulnerable to Covid-19 than you.
This has a spiritual parallel. There are those Christian believers for whom life seems an unending struggle. They’re not the kinds of people who view each day as a bag of gold coins that they’re eager to spend. Instead, each day is a challenge that they’re glad to safely get through by nightfall. Often, these are those Christians who deal with depression, anxiety, doubts, and periods of despair. They have to battle through the darkness to see the light and must work extra hard to count their blessings. They wish they could be the optimistic, cheerful, and bubbly believer. But God seems to have chosen a different path for them. People like Moses, Elijah, Jonah, and the apostle Thomas fall into this category. They are like the chronic sufferers of the common cold.
But this vulnerability to one set of problems also arms them against others. Consider the two sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. In the Gospels, Mary usually comes forth as the ideal believer. Twice Jesus goes to Mary’s defense against her more pragmatic critics (e.g. Mark 14:1-9; Luke 10:38-42). One of those critics was Mary’s own sister Martha. Martha was one of those who’s too often weighed down by the worries and responsibilities of life. Perhaps she thought she wasn’t quite the super-saint her sister was. Yet, in the face of a real crisis – when Mary and Martha’s brother died- it was Mary who melted into a pool of tears while Martha stood firm (John 11:17-34).
It seems that Christ reserves every type of personality and every type of Christian experience to sustain His church. Yes, Moses, Elijah, and Jonah were prone to despair and all three prayed for death (Numbers 11:10-15; 1 Kings 19:4; Jonah 4:1-3). Yet, look at the amazing things they accomplished. Yes, Thomas was plagued with doubts. Yet, when it seemed Jesus was marching to His death, Thomas was the first to march alongside Him (John 11:16) – and the first to confess Jesus as God (John 20:28).
So, if you’re beset with chronic doubts, fears, and depression, don’t lose heart. Don’t despise who you are or the particular path God has set before you. Your particular struggles are arming you against something worse. Though you seem weak in one area God will prove you strong in another. By this wisdom, Christ keeps His church strong against all the varied schemes and attacks of Satan and his demons.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, into Your loving and capable hands I commit my spirit, soul, and body. Though I am troubled by the doubts, fears, and depression that seem to plague me, I trust in Your grace to save me and make me fit for every challenge. Help me to understand that You have made me to Your own specifications – for a specific purpose in Your church. Amen.