Mysterious Ways: The Blessing of a False Positive

An unwelcome diagnosis proves to be a gift from above.

Posted in , Feb 24, 2022

A woman on the phone

You’ve tested positive for Covid-19.”

I couldn’t process the caller’s words. “What?”

“Your test came back positive,” the nurse said. “You need to come back to the clinic to confirm.”

I should have been worried about my health, especially as I battled cancer. Instead, my only thought was I can’t miss Mom’s funeral…again!

Mom had died in June 2020. My family had held a small memorial service in Ohio, where she’d lived. After being in and out of remission for many years, I was undergoing chemo again, which suppressed my immune system. It was too dangerous for me to travel during the pandemic.

My siblings assured me that we’d wait until I could travel to lay Mom formally to rest. Our father, a Navy veteran, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. We’d have Mom’s ashes interred with his.

Once the number of Covid cases had fallen and we were all fully vaccinated, our family set the date. The nurse called as I finished reading an e-mail from Arlington National Cemetery staff confirming the details. The service was scheduled for September 1, 2021, at 1 P.M., just days away. And now I wouldn’t be able to go.

I called my sister Lisa in tears. “There’s no way we’re doing this service without you,” she said. “We’ll postpone.”

The rest of our siblings agreed. Flights and hotels had already been booked, but everyone canceled their arrangements and told me not to worry, to focus on getting better.

A few days later, I went back to the clinic. This time, I tested negative. As relieved as I was not to have Covid, I felt terrible. Everyone had changed their plans for nothing!

God, why is this happening?

I soon got my answer. On September 1, my sister Chris was watching the local weather channel in Richmond, Virginia, and the meteorologist said that, due to Hurricane Ida, Arlington National Cemetery would close its gates at 1 P.M. The exact time of Mom’s service.

If I hadn’t gotten that false positive test result, my siblings and I would have traveled to Virginia as planned. Not only would Mom’s funeral have been canceled, but after flying in from all over the country, we could have been stranded by the storm or worse. I should’ve known God’s timing is always right.

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