HOBART, Ind. (CBS) — There are many stories of hope in the midst of the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Northwest Indiana pastor had his life shattered by COVID-19 when his wife died. But as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Wednesday, the reverend’s faith is still resilient.

When it comes to love stories, Jeff and Darlene Spencer’s 23 years of marriage wasn’t long enough.

“I would sign all my cards now and forever, ‘My baby girl,’” Pastor Spencer said.

Now, Pastor Spencer is surrounded by sympathy cards.

“This last week, it’s been kind of difficult, you know,” he said.

Darlene went to the hospital in mid-March, and when doctors there determined she was positive for COVID-19, doctors intubated her.

“I got to spend the first 8-10 hours with her, and then they made me leave,” Pastor Spencer said. “I was never able to go back, and I wasn’t able to be there when she passed.”

The man of faith could not be by his wife’s side. The pastor would later learn he too was positive of the same virus that took his sweetheart away – and was himself forced to quarantine.

Planning a funeral became challenging.

“Not being able to go the funeral home, make arrangements, trying to do everything by phone, and having no service,” Pastor Spencer said.

Feeling bewildered, Pastor Spencer turned to the altar of his church in Hobart, Indiana and streamed a sermon.

“As most of you know. my wife Darlene went home to be with the Lord due to coronavirus,” he told virtual congregants.

From that sermon, strangers sent flowers and love his way.

“Asking me to pray for people in their families,” he said.

Pastor Spencer’s faith is all he can rely on. He knows some still don’t think the virus is serious.

“I’d like to warn them I thought that same thing,” he said.

But take it from a man who defeated the virus, and grieves from what it took from him.

“Until it reaches you and it hits your family, you don’t see the outcome,” Pastor Spencer said.

Pastor Spencer said although churches want to open for Easter Sunday, he reminds them to do unto them, and he does not want his neighbors or anyone else to feel his pain.