Why a COVID-19 Vaccine won’t be enough

What do you miss from the pre-COVID 19 world?

The things we could list are endless: maybe it’s the ability to travel somewhat easily to loved ones; maybe it’s sitting with friends at a coffee shop or a bar; perhaps it’s the community of a church gathering; maybe it’s attending weddings of loved ones. To me, it’s been all these things plus more. I particularly miss going to the gym to play pick-up basketball.

We all know what it’s like to live without coronavirus. It’s evident that our lives these days are fractions of what we’ve experienced them to be.

Sometimes it feels like the pre-COVID reality was not too long ago, but other times it feels like it was a lifetime away. Globally, we all share the hope that one day all will return to normal. We will once again be able to have sports to watch on TV, or even be able to attend an actual live event. We’ll one day be able to return to the office space or schools without having to wear masks or physically distance ourselves from others. We’ll one day again be able to see our friends and family in person instead of through a computer screen.

It’s actually very cool to me to think that, for the most part, all people around the world share the same hope that we will get past the novel coronavirus. Though the pandemic has affected different communities in different ways, it has still affected everyone.

To truly put this behind us, we’ll need an effective vaccine. So many resources have been purposed for the development of this vaccine—even some major pharmaceutical competitors have decided to work together to achieve this common goal. This is all so that (a) people stop getting sick from COVID-19, and (b) life can return to normal.

If I were to write out a pretty high-level timeline, it might look like this:

  1. Life was normal and good.
  2. COVID-19 enters, affecting people and reducing societal quality of life
  3. An effective vaccine is developed and administered
  4. All goes back to normal, perhaps even better because people are more appreciative

If I’m being honest—which I am—this sounds an awful lot like the story written out in Scripture, making it a great living analogy for an even deeper truth and reality.

If you’ve never realized it before, realize it now: we have been living in a “coronavirus world” this whole time. By this I mean we are living in a world that is stricken by sin. We see it all around us in the forms of strained race relations, imperfect political leaders, and global catastrophes (such as COVID-19, coincidentally). Watching the news channel for even five minutes is simply saddening. We also see sin personally in broken relationships, in flawed perceptions of others, and when we don’t live as we ought to live.

We were not created to live in a world of sin. In the beginning, when God created all things, it was good. There was a beautiful life before sin entered the picture. There was no sin, death, pain, sickness, suffering, tears, depression, anxiety, loneliness, or any other ugly parts of this current world. Humans could fully enjoy a relationship with God and each other in the lovely creation God had made.

We can get back to that.

Similarly to how we will mitigate or “defeat” COVID-19, we can overcome this sinful world through a vaccine. Except, this isn’t a physical vaccine, and it’s not even one we ourselves can produce. This is a spiritual vaccine: it’s the only one that will ever exist, and it is God himself.

God, as Jesus Christ, is the vaccine in two ways:

  1. Our sin is what separates us from God. By paying the penalty levied against us through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, Jesus opened the pathway for us to fully participate in a right relationship with God—the relationship we were primarily created to enjoy.
  2. Our world is broken. One day, Jesus Christ will come again in glory. When that happens, he will usher in a new heaven and new earth. The old one will pass away, and we will live in a world without any of the pain or death of this one. It will be a beautiful.

But for any vaccine to work on you, you have to take it. The work of God is fully available to you, but for it to have an effect, you have to “take it.” You have to (a) accept that Jesus Christ is Lord over all things, and (b) put your faith, trust, and love wholly in him.

Once the coronavirus vaccine is widely available, the sad truth is that not everyone will choose to take it, meaning that they will still be susceptible to the virus as it goes around. The Bible says that those who do not accept Jesus as Lord and trust him wholly are in for an even rougher time. At its worst, coronavirus can cause damage to internal organs and death. On the other hand, sin causes eternal separation from God where there will be weeping, gnashing of teeth, eternal death, and no hope. You can take the coronavirus vaccine, but without Christ, you will still be susceptible to the worst outcome in existence.

If you have not accepted Jesus as Lord, I implore you: commit to doing so. If there’s anyone in your social circle that knows Jesus, ask that person about it. If there’s no one, please reach out to me in the “Contact” tab at the top of this page. Every time you miss something from the pre-coronavirus life, I hope it prompts you think about the fact that unless you’re right with God, your life will always be a shadow of what it was meant to be. There is joy to be had in this world when you live in the freedom from sin provided by Christ. You can only know that joy when you’ve accepted God.

If you already proclaim Jesus as your Lord, you are already in a right relationship with God. You have the vaccine that is Jesus. You know the world we live in is not our permanent home. You are able to experience joy, hope, truth, faithfulness, and steadfast love of God presently. So when you think about coronavirus, the hope for a vaccine, and a return to normal, be prompted to remember that this world isn’t “it” for us, to pray about those who don’t know Christ, and to hope more fervently for the second coming of Jesus.

I’ll sign off with something a mentor once told me: Peace to you in these times, and in all times.

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