Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers.”
I love that poem. I picture hope as a tiny bird hiding, barely breathing for fear of predators, but hoping to mount up with wings and soar to safety one day—kind of like all of us during the pandemic.
Lots of Hope
These days, everyone is throwing around the term “hope,” myself included. I am always full of hope in the spring, and especially this year. I hope everyone will be vaccinated and have a wonderful summer. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is calling the vaccine a “shot of hope.” I like that.
Unfortunately, according to the New York Times, millions of white evangelicals do not want their “shot of hope.” They say things like, “My hope is in Christ alone.” I served as a missionary for a group of white evangelical churches. I grew up in those churches, and I appreciate the way I was taught the Bible constantly. But sometimes the scriptures or or a religious conviction can be used as a weapon against individuals who are struggling to do the best they can with what they’ve been given, and I think that’s tragic.
Hope in Christ
Take the vaccine, for example. To refuse the vaccine and say, “My hope is in Christ alone,” comes across as an accusation against others, implying they do not hope in Christ like you do—their faith is inferior to yours.
I do put my hope in Christ, but that doesn’t mean I refuse medical treatment or vaccines. If Christ can heal me and keep me safe without medicine or vaccines, can’t Christ heal me after I take medicine or a vaccine? Can’t God use medicine? God is not a big ogre up in the sky waiting to zap us for getting a vaccine because we failed to “trust in Christ alone.” God is full of grace and mercy, and Jesus told us to love our neighbors.
Some may not be able to take the vaccine because of medical conditions. All the more reason for those of us who are healthy to take it to protect them. It’s for our neighbors and our communities that we get the vaccine. It’s for the elderly and the vulnerable. I could be wrong, but it seems to me Christians should be the first to line up for the vaccine. Isn’t sacrificial love what Christianity is all about?
N. T. wright said, “Hope is imagining God’s future into the present.”
What if God has brought about this vaccine as one way to help us move into God’s future plans? None of us can comprehend the mind of God. You’re free to take the vaccine or not, but don’t pin the blame on God for your decision.
Genuine fears and misgivings abound. It’s okay to be skeptical, but please, don’t make this a spiritual issue or a political issue. It’s a medical issue. Listen to your doctor. God usually works through men to heal and help.
Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) says, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not the virus, nor a vaccine. Rest secure in God’s love for you.
Any stories of hope to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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