Meditations for Troubled Times
The Search for the Vaccine
The race is on. Scientists and medical professionals around the globe are working 24/7 to find a sure-fire way to combat Covid-19.
Of course, some wholeheartedly endorse the use of vaccines to address medical conditions, and they are anxious to see progress made in the battle against this new, international, “invisible” enemy. Others are generally skeptical of the use of any vaccines any time, and they believe their use is ill-advised and dangerous, even against this novel coronavirus.
But, even as the search is underway for a specific vaccine to fight the virus, it may be important to pause and consider a few questions about what the virus really may be, what it may mean, and what it may represent. For example, consider these questions:
- Is the plague-like nature of Covid-19 more than just a medical condition caused by a microscopic germ?
- If this is the case, then what else might the virus be or represent?
- If there is something else underway with the virus, then is the “as-soon-as-possible eradication” of the virus a good thing (notwithstanding the fact that the virus is said to have tragically claimed more than 100,000 lives in America)?
- If the eradication of the “other thing” the virus represents is important, then is there a remedy currently available for this thing?
- If this is the case, then what is it?
The answers, according to some among us, are as follows: 1. yes; 2. this is the question, so keep reading below; 3. no (or at least not necessarily, although we all long for the medical ramifications of the virus and the resulting sicknesses and death to end immediately); 4. yes; and 5. this is also important, so keep reading below.
Many have recently pointed out that the coronavirus represents the resolve by God, on a global basis, to deal with infectious sin and wickedness that, in many respects, is like those things taking place “in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). According to Moses, at the time of Noah “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). And so God acted globally to bring judgment on the entire earth.
The parallels to other epochs of sin and wickedness in the history of God's people are found in a historic retrospect recorded in Psalm 106, where the Psalmist graphically described the dreadful result of the Israelites’ failure to eradicate from among them the idol-worshipping residents in the Promised Land. An illustration is found in verses 34-39: “They did not destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them, but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood. Thus, they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.”
As a result, the LORD did “give them into the hand of the nations” and “their enemies oppressed them” (Psalm 106:40, 42), but no wholesale, Noah-like judgment came from the hand of God as a result of the disobedience of his people. Instead, the LORD withheld his hand, “remembered his covenant,” and “relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love” (Psalm 106:44, 45). This means God remembered the covenant promises he had made so that, by his loving discipline, his people might remember the covenant duties they had assumed. His goal was that the “pandemic” nature of their sin would be eradicated.
So, can we say that it was like he “sent a coronavirus” to alert his people to the vast ways in which they had failed to love, obey, and serve him? This may be exactly what is at work in our day.
Which takes us back to the five questions:
- Is the plague-like nature of the Covid-19 more than just a medical condition? Yes. It is both medical and spiritual.
- If this is the case, then what else might the virus be or represent? It represents the sovereign hand of God at work to alert a dying world to the impending flood of judgment that awaits those apart from him.
- If there is something else underway with the virus, then is the “as-soon-as-possible eradication” of the virus a good thing? The discovery of a vaccine, as important as it may be medically, may lessen the very spiritual impulse that we all pray will be at work in the hearts and minds of lost and marginally committed people.
- If the eradication of the “other thing” the virus represents is important, then is there a remedy currently available for this thing? Yes, of course.
- If this is the case, then what is it? It's the blood of Jesus, and it's available to those whom he calls to himself.