Friday, 8 January 2021

Oh, dear God (apostrophe!) ... the vaccine!

I have so much to say about man and his mind, but let me not bore you beyond frustration. If you are taking the time to read this, then I’m convinced you have the ability to infer and understand a lot of what I’m not saying. Spoiler alert: this article is not all about Covid-19 and the vaccine.

I hear a lot of people talking about the vaccine as a means a) to continue life or b) to promote death. Those who are for or against the vaccine are throwing around their opinions based on more opinions, selected facts, and not-so-thorough research. The divided reactions of people are quite natural because even qualified scientists and doctors are in disagreement regarding the vaccine and the research that has been done to date. We learn, however, to respect all pioneers in the field of medicine.

I mentioned the following in a comment on Facebook more recently: Smallpox ravaged our world for centuries. On average, three people out of ten died because of it. How much did the scientists or doctors know back then? Yet, a vaccine was made. As a baby, my mother allowed me to get the vaccine without any questions. She didn’t have access to the world’s opinion via the internet (more specifically, social media). She did what all mothers did. The smallpox vaccine is what the clinic gave to all new babies and she just fell in line. She walked in faith. Read about smallpox. Learn about the history of it and the vaccine. Were the governments of those times any better than the governments of today? How many years have passed and how has smallpox fared in general over time since the introduction of the vaccine? Meanwhile, while there are governments, there will always be conspiracies. While people have more time to spend online during the various levels of lockdown, there will be more conspiracy “infections”. Conspiracy theories seem to breed on the internet and, thus, spread more easily. Regardless of the theory, God is our refuge and strength. He wants to bless us, surround us with goodwill, and protect us (Psalm 5:12).

The vaccine, in my mind, should not be a political or religious problem unless we make it one. Our problem today isn’t really about a Covid-19 vaccine or our concerns about prolonged life and unnecessary death. Covid-19, like the flu virus, mutates. Even if you spend time reading about viruses and the evolution of viruses, and "educate" yourself, you will soon discover that no matter how much you learn, you will still not have enough knowledge to satisfy your curious mind. Why? The answer is simple: your mind is set. Appropriate revisions were never made to what you have learned to believe during the course of your life. Hence, your biased opinion weighs heavily on how you interpret what you read. Our biggest influence is the media, which is available 24/7. For each one of us, regardless of whether right or wrong, there is someone out there that shares our perspective. This gives us fuel to continue arguing for or against the vaccine. Honestly, our problem lies in our pre-set beliefs, our lack of mental flexibility to correct our own fixed and incorrect perspectives, our inability to accept another's perspective (right or wrong), and our lack of faith. 

We have the ability to hear what people say and we have the freedom to choose whether to believe what has been said or not. We choose to believe whether what we hear is part of a conspiracy and we choose to believe whether the information is beneficial to us. Some of us even choose to believe that God thinks and feels the same as we do, condemn others who proclaim to be Christians (because they think differently), and then provide Bible verses to support our perspectives (even though the context differs completely). 

We flow with everything within the boundaries of personal comfort. We flow with everything that suits our beliefs. When people swim against this stream, we become emotional. We exert ourselves and become the spokesman of our personal thoughts, wishes, and inclinations in order to convince them that we are right.

Faith for so many means that we do what we feel is right for us, according to our belief – with or without prejudice. Truthfully, our trust, assurance, and confidence need to be in God and not in ourselves.

Now I will talk about myself, instead of generalizing, because this is what I believe. God doesn’t protect me through what I eat or don’t eat, what I think or don’t think, or what I do or don’t do. Perhaps today I will refuse to take the vaccine, but at the same time eat junk food and drink Coca-cola. Tomorrow I might just take the vaccine and drink a healthy protein shake. What is my judgment? Am I keeping a diary of my personal daily behaviour and choices? Within me, there seems to be a percentage of hypocrisy with regard to what I think and do. I am imperfect. I will, at times, fail to see my own mistakes. However, through all my efforts of living my life, I’m comforted to know that God protects me through a) His grace and b) through my faith. Yes, that means I have faith and believe in a flu injection and the vaccine. It doesn’t mean I will take one or the other. I have never had a flu injection, but I don’t judge people who go for an annual injection. Depending on their immune reaction, some will become sick once they receive the flu injection, but there are many who won’t. In my opinion, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all vaccine or opinion on this planet.

With reference to the idea that the world is going to get worse, I wholeheartedly agree. It’s what the Bible has informed us. Are we prepared for worse conditions? Again, each one of us has an opinion with regard to “worse” conditions. Right now, someone is fighting to breathe because of Covid-19; someone is receiving chemotherapy in an attempt to fight cancer; someone is trying to sleep with the pain of an empty stomach; someone is being tortured; someone is being trafficked; and someone is dying. What exactly is the definition of “worse”? Needless to say, even knowing that things will get worse, we don’t improve. Our lifestyle, immune system, relationships, education, attitude, beliefs, etc. remain compromised.

I have security and peace, and relative health, but that can all change within a few seconds. I believe in God. I believe that if I walk in faith, I will be protected. If I get Covid-19, even after I have done everything necessary to protect myself (and honestly, I can do only so much), or if any other negative thing strikes me, I will still walk in faith. If I live, I will be grateful. If I die, I will have peace. The devil and evil (man or virus) will always attack. All I can do is continue to walk in faith. I’m not perfect. I have moments when I become scared. I falter. I fall. But, I get up. I look to Him and I believe. God gives me the strength to endure.

This virus is going to be here for a while. Accept it and live in such a way that you are able to protect your health (physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally). Live and let live. Respect people and their opinions. Keep busy with people and activities within your social sphere. You don’t need social media to make or break your day! You don’t need social media to teach or preach. Why argue with a stranger? Arguments on social media are not conducive to another’s well-being. If I must add a Bible verse, for effect, here's one that feeds my mind on social media every day! Proverbs 15:4: A wholesome tongue is a tree of life…(KJV).

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