I know there is so much noise right now about the vaccines for COVID. I hope my blog today doesn’t add to the noise, but bring clarity for some.
The reason I’m attempting to address this topic is because of conversations I’ve had with some of you about it. Writing about it provides me with the chance to further clarify. It also helps those of you who might have the same question but haven’t had the chance to talk with me about it (not that I’m some guru on the topic).
There is a lot of fear in our day. The fear has been rampant for nearly two years now. We know that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a self control (2 Timothy 1:7). Of course, we fear the Lord, but that’s different than being afraid. And being afraid of death is certainly not of the Lord. After all, why should we be afraid of what our Lord has already defeated?
Thankfully, I don’t sense much fear in you, Central Oaks. You all have a wonderful understanding and heart that pulls you to live while trusting God and not to live in fear. Praise God for that!
Getting a COVID vaccine could be a sign that someone is living in fear, but what I hope to show you today is that it doesn’t have to be.
I begin with bringing several Scriptures to your mind about times people in Scripture used various items medicinally.
1. Figs for Hezekiah’s Boil
Boils are a lovely image, I know, but helpful to this discussion. Hezekiah was sick and about to die. Isaiah, the prophet, told him to get ready to die. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and the Lord responded to his prayer, granting him 15 more years of life (2 Kings 20:6). Then, in an aid to Hezekiah’s healing, Isaiah gave this instruction in verse 7:
7 And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”2 Kings 20:7
It’s not entirely clear what the figs were intended to do. It seems they acted as a kind of medicinal compress to one of Hezekiah’s symptoms. This would be similar to an ointment we might use today.
The figs used medicinally for Hezekiah weren’t a replacement of God healing him. They were part of the means of God healing him.
2. Wine for Timothy’s Stomach
Paul instructed his protege Timothy to “use a little wine for your stomach and your frequent ailments” in 1 Timothy 5:23. Surely Paul was not telling Timothy to live in fear by utilizing a sign of God’s blessing (wine) for his stomach problems and whatever else was ailing him.
3. Oil and Wine by the Good Samaritan
The famous story of the Good Samaritan is a parable Jesus told about a Samaritan who went out of his way and risked himself to help a man who had been beaten and left for dead. The Samaritan did not simply pray and trust God to heal the man of his wounds. “He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine” (Luke 10:34a). Again we see an example of oil and wine being used medicinally.
I hope these three examples serve to reassure you that using medicine is not ungodly. It is an appropriate way to utilize the gifts of God. Applying this to vaccines is fair.
What This Doesn’t Mean
Don’t read into what I’m trying to say to you. I haven’t made a claim about the safety or efficacy of the three vaccines currently used in the United States to combat COVID. Neither have I said vaccines should be mandated. Every person is different and has various levels of health. Surely all of these things will impact a decision about getting a vaccine. These variables are why it’s not my place as your pastor to tell you what each of you should do as individuals.
Why I Got the COVID Vaccine
But I can tell you why I received a COVID vaccine. Here is where I am right now on it:
God has given many men and women great minds and resources to understand how viruses work and how to combat them. I see their presence around me and my ability to utilize their knowledge as a gift of God, and not a fruit of distrusting Him.
My body is temporary, but it is something God wants me to steward. It, like my education, training, finances, abilities, time, and children, have been given to me by God to use for Him. I see vaccines as a means to remove potential unnecessary challenges in my service of Him.
But vaccines aren’t just about stewarding my own body, but loving my neighbor. The possibility, or even likelihood, of my giving someone else a virus (whether I intend to or not) is something I must consider—especially since most of the saints God has entrusted to me are older, and therefore more likely to be greatly harmed. I also think of those who haven’t surrendered to Jesus that I could infect. How could I be concerned about where they will spend eternity and not be concerned about being a cause of them entering that eternity?
So Then, It Comes Down to This
I’m not afraid of getting COVID (already did) or dying from COVID. The Lord has me in His hands and I am ready to be with Him in glory right now if it’s His will. The more I think about being with Him, the more I want to be with Him! Won’t it be wonderful!
Am I living in fear because I got a COVID vaccine? I don’t think so. I think I’m utilizing wisdom. Most decisions we have to make are not divinely revealed to us outside of the wisdom Scripture calls us to seek. This wisdom is “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
Some might get vaccines because all they have is this life and they’re not ready to stand before God or don’t even believe He exists. But some might get vaccines because they want to spend as much time as they can spreading the glory of God and helping others get ready to meet Him.
As always, I’m praying for you, Central Oaks, and love you.