To know or not to know? That was the question. I chose not to, and came to regret it.

I’m talking about being tested for COVID-19. Of course I am, because hasn’t that been our national obsession for years now? Oh, wait, that’s right — it’s just been a few long months.

Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago with an assortment of possible COVID symptoms. My temperature was its usual reptilian 96-point-something, but that didn’t mean much because I can recall only a few times in my life when my temperature has risen above 97 degrees. I’m apparently way cooler than I look.

For many days, I experienced about half of the less-scary a la carte selections on the COVID-19 symptom menu. But — and I know this sounds almost blasphemous in these current times — I didn’t want to get tested. I’d already been tested a few months ago and didn’t relish a second encounter with a super-sized, cerebellum-scratching Q-Tip unless my symptoms took an ominous turn, so my husband and I just quarantined ourselves.

About nine days into my illness, I began to second-guess my no-test decision. I finally caved and called the hotline to ask if I should come in, but the nurse said I’d probably missed the “sweet spot” time frame when a test would be most accurate.

Well, if I might not get a definitive diagnosis after having a monster swab rammed up my nose, it didn’t seem worth it. Besides, I felt like I’d been run over by a freight train and the thought of putting on real clothes and driving anywhere was a bit overwhelming, so I didn’t do it.

Now I find myself about 99 percent sure I had COVID-19, but not absolutely, positively sure. I’m probably now immune to COVID cooties for a few months and can finally relax when I’m out and about ... but maybe not.

It occurred to me that this nagging uncertainty I’m experiencing about my physical condition is not unlike what many people constantly experience related to their spiritual status. And sadly, it’s just as unnecessary.

If you were to ask random people on the street if they think they’ll go to heaven when they die, you’d probably meet some who are sure they will. But quite a few would most likely answer, “I hope so,” or “I’m a member of a church,” or “I try to be a good person.”

I’m all for going to church and doing good, but according to the Bible, those aren’t actually the criteria God uses to determine our eternal destiny. Much like my persistent headache, nausea, body aches, chills and fatigue are symptoms of COVID-19, going to church and doing good may be symptoms of our spiritual status, but they aren’t absolute proof.

There’s only one test that determines whether we’ve been saved from an eternity in hell. Jesus explained it this way: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

If we believe God makes the rules and the Bible expresses His will, then there’s no need to live in a state of stressful uncertainty about our standing with God. As the Apostle John said, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

To know or not to know? When it comes to where I’ll spend eternity (that’s FOREVER, folks), I most definitely want to know.

And I’m happy to report the Bible says absolutely nothing about Q-Tips, giant or otherwise.

Mary Ann Crum ( lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at