By Todd E. Brady
Vice President For University Ministries, Union University, Jackson
Just when it seemed like life was getting back to some sense of normalcy, now there is talk about a new Delta variant of COVID-19 going around. After months of washing up, social-distancing and wearing face coverings, are we getting ready for yet another round of doing it all over again?
Sunday after church, I stopped to fill up with gas. Two other folks pulled up next to me to do the same. While pumping gas, I overheard an interesting conversation:
Woman: I hope we’re not getting ready for another season of COVID-19.
Man: I’m not worrying about it. I’m not even thinking about it! God’s on my side!
Woman: Oh yeah?
Man: I’ve got faith. With faith, all this COVID stuff ain’t nothing. With faith, nothing’s gonna touch me. If you’ve got faith, God’s gonna protect you. He’s not gonna let it get to you. Nothing to worry about. I ain’t getting sick.
My furrowed brow must have signaled my contemplation. That morning, I had seen some of my Christian friends who had received the COVID-19 vaccine. There were also some there who have told me they won’t get the vaccine because they don’t trust it. One thing is certain — gather two or three people in a room and you are sure to have five to seven opinions about COVID and vaccines.
Regardless of what one thinks about the virus, appealing to faith in The Almighty is not a good argument.
Do those who get sick with COVID have less faith than others who do not?
Are those who contracted COVID and subsequently died then scolded by God in the afterlife and told, “If you would have had more faith you would not have died?”
Were the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices worse than all the other Galileans? (Luke 13:2) Were the 18 people who died when the Tower of Siloam fell on them worse than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:4) Twice, Jesus said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3,5)
The man at the gas station probably has faith that is better and stronger and deeper than mine, but from the way I read my Bible and from the experiences I have had, it doesn’t seem to me that God works that way.
The “haves” and “have nots” cannot be separated along faith lines. The sun shines on the faithless as well as the faithful. A person’s faithfulness does not mean that they are guaranteed health. On the same hand, a person’s faithlessness does not bring about sickness.
This is the mystery in which we live. I for one am glad that God is not a “tit for tat” God. He is not a “What have you done for me lately?” kind of Deity. God does not do unto me as I have done unto Him. That wouldn’t be good for any of us.
Regardless of what you may think about COVID-19 or the vaccination, faith in God is not a force field against the difficulties of life. Faith is not a guarantee for a trial-free life. No, but God does promise to be with us when trials do come. B&R