I got my second covid shot last week. The shot that everyone I know has had some kind of reaction to. And I was no exception. But it was good.

I’ll explain.

I hadn’t been looking forward to all the side effects I’d heard about. Everyone told me to expect to miss work the following day, to plan on staying home and recovering. Yikes. There are few illnesses in life one plans for, but apparently post-covid vaccine reactions are one of them. They were telling the truth. By the morning after the shot, I had a fever and a sore arm and a head that felt like lead and all I wanted to do was sleep. I’d get up for a short time, and then curl back up under the covers for another nap. My family wasn’t sure what to do with me. I’m never sick. Seriously. When I lost my last job I left with 57 unused sick days in the bank. Which I didn’t get paid for. But that’s another story for another time.

Back to my vaccine reaction.

The day after my very bad day, I woke up….feeling absolutely fine. No fever. No headache. Nothing. And I thought that was the most bizarre, intense, short-lived illness I’d ever had. And I knew I was on my way to some kind of immunity from SARS-CoV-2. I had to go through the tough day to get to the brighter one. It was good.

So many life experiences are like that. Most of them we can’t plan for like I could for a covid vaccine reaction. Some of them we can. Maybe that circled date on a calendar is one that we know ahead of time will bring a challenge or a heartache or a stressful change. But God in His mercy and wisdom sometimes allows difficulty to come into our lives in order to bring us out to something good on the other side. He knows that if we push through, relying on the truths we’ve stored up beforehand, we’ll end up on that other side spiritually stronger and healthier and more equipped to fight off attacks meant to bring us down. Sort of like being equipped to fend off a virus.

A very bad day can bring good days, even hopeful days to follow. What made my post-vaccine day tolerable was knowing that the discomfort had a purpose. I was building antibodies. I was getting stronger even though I felt pretty weak. And I need to remember that the next time a life challenge comes at me. God has made me a promise. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

And that’s good.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

But we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash