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An open letter to fellow Christians: Please get the COVID-19 vaccine

Church elder makes a biblical case for helping to end the pandemic.

ROLLA, Mo. — By way of background, I am an elder in our local church. While I am not a physician, I have served in patient care as an EMT. I also have been a senior leader at a hospital. I have a master’s degree in health administration with 15 years of experience in public health.

Many believers have taken the position that they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine because they believe God will deliver them from this pandemic.

Related: Faith and COVID-19

I deeply admire that kind of faith. Jeremiah perhaps said it best in Jeremiah 17:7:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.

God wants our faith and trust to be in him. With that recognition, please allow me to share my thoughts and faith on this topic.

First, consider that God always has used men and women, flawed as they may be, to accomplish his will. Remember the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar called these men Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. While there are good faith lessons from the lives of these men, notice that God blessed these individuals with knowledge, wisdom and understanding as we see in Daniel 1:17:

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

Related: Most Christians welcome the COVID-19 vaccines, but some are skeptical

Ultimately, this led to King Nebuchadnezzar glorifying God in Daniel 4:37:

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Similarly, in Exodus 35:30-35 we see that God filled workers with skill, intelligence, knowledge and craftsmanship to accomplish his will in building his tabernacle.

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver — by any sort of workman or skilled designer.

Brittany Bedford, a senior nursing student at Oklahoma Christian University, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the campus community.

Brittany Bedford, a senior nursing student at Oklahoma Christian University, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the campus community.

And we know that God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure in 1 Kings 4:29-34:

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

We could see many more examples in the Bible. God uses people to accomplish his will, and sometimes he gives them the knowledge, wisdom and skill they need.

Related: After difficult year, COVID-19 vaccines bring joy and hope

Second, let’s recognize that one of the most remarkable systems in the human body is our immune system, placed there by God himself to help defend us from disease. While mankind has tried for thousands of years to understand how to fight disease, those insights seem to come a little at a time.

And with each new understanding, we gain a deeper appreciation and awe of the incredible complexity and sophistication of our immune system. Only our God could design us in such a marvelous way!

David expressed it well in Psalm 139:14:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Through this pandemic, my prayer has been that God would bring the pandemic to an end and that he would be glorified however he decided to accomplish it. Remember that in March 2020, researchers were telling us that a vaccine was probably three years away. Yet the COVID-19 vaccine was developed in months, based on research that had been going on for years. The developers of the vaccines had hoped for effectiveness in the range of 70 percent, yet the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were both well over 90 percent effective.

Related: Churches, Christian universities hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics

Given that, is it so difficult to believe that God has provided insight to researchers to give them understanding and wisdom regarding our immune system, so that they could develop a means to end this pandemic? And should we not be filled with praise that his method of bringing the pandemic to an end brings glory to him for the wonder of the immune system he created in us?

Think about Naaman, the commander of the army of Syria. His story is told in 2 Kings 5:1-14. He had leprosy, and he went to Elisha for healing. Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman to tell him to dip seven times in the Jordan River to be healed. Naaman was angry that Elisha sent only a messenger. He was angry that he was told to dip in the Jordan River when there were much nicer rivers back in Syria. Why should he submit to dipping in that filthy river and pollute himself?

Perhaps you do not like the people or the organizations that are asking you to get the vaccine. You may be waiting for something special, as did Naaman. Or maybe you don’t like the vaccine, because like Naaman, you find the solution objectionable. Healing was waiting for Naaman, but he had to do something to receive the healing.

The Bible is filled with examples of people of faith being required to do something. Hebrews 11, that well-known chapter on faith, chronicles those who acted. Abel offered, Enoch pleased God, Noah constructed, Abraham went, and on and on.

So here is my perspective: My faith tells me that God has heard our prayers. My faith tells me that God has shared insights with men and women who have created a solution for the pandemic. It was developed in record time and is far more effective than expected. I see God’s hand in all of this.

I cannot pray to God, “Please end this pandemic,” and then limit how he should answer that prayer. I cannot ask God for his intervention and then say, “Just so long as I don’t have to get a vaccine.” There is a part for me to complete. My faith leads me to action. My faith in God leads me to get the vaccine.

“I cannot ask God for his intervention and then say, ‘Just so long as I don’t have to get a vaccine.’”

My hope and prayer are that God watches over you and that your faith moves you to action. And as Paul told our fellow Christians in Philippians 2:3-4, that you “in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Through faith in God, and in love and humility toward those around us, let’s work together to end this pandemic.

JEFF McKUNE is an elder of the Rolla Church of Christ in Missouri. Contact him at [email protected].

Filed under: Coronavirus COVID-19 Delta variant Editorial health health care medical Missouri Opinion Top Stories vaccinations vaccine hesitancy vaccines Views

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