We all enter into each New Year with resolutions and plans for the continuity of something great or the start of a new thing.
Whether we can go through half of these plans is a function of where our priorities lie.
Take a glance back at 2020. What restrictions did you put on yourself because of resistance to something new? How far did that resistance get you?
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, but he lived in pain because he resisted change for most of his early life. Whatever prompted him to call on God with specific needs is something I would still love to find out. Was he tired of the situation? The man seemed to me like a character who already accepted pain as his fate. He grew up learning that his birth had caused his mother and probably every other family member sorrow, so he lived a life of solitude. No one reckoned with him, and he was comfortable with it. I do not know about you, but I would never give my child such a derogatory name no matter how painful a childbirth experience I must have had. Let us not digress as that is not even the point of discussion.
Why Do We Resist Change?
Remember the plagues that afflicted the Egyptians. The antidote to those plagues was to release the Israelites from slavery, but they chose not to. Pharaoh formed a brick wall of resistance. Another instance was when the Israelites were in the wilderness; they missed their old diet in Egypt and tried to resist God’s new diet for them. These people of old are no different from us living in modern times.
The covid-19 pandemic caused a giant setback in the health and economic sectors in the year 2020 but gave the gospel a major digital leap in the same year. How ironic. The World Bank stated in June 2020 that by the end of the year, global economies would have shrunk by almost 8%, and they were not wrong. Even churches had to suffer some financial setbacks due to this pandemic. No industry was in exemption from its stirs. Let me ask you this- did the rate of giving in your church increase with this pandemic? Why then did we allow some of our opinions to sow distrust in the minds of innocent citizens? Don’t we all want a solution to this plague?
What Future Do You See?
If anyone asks you not to get your flu shots, would you listen? You would pray but still go for it. I hope you know that there must have been people in Jabez’s circle, who might have tried to discourage him from seeking that change, but he defied opinions that were contrary to the future he was seeing. What do you see in this New Year?
I am glad that some Christians are beginning to express warm reception towards these tested vaccines, although distribution has not started yet. 80% of the 1.2 billion doses of the vaccines that Pfizer plans to produce in 2021 will go to developed nations, whose population only comprises 14% of the world population. The United States, Canada, Britain, the European Union, for example, all have preorders that would vaccinate their entire population. The other 86 percent of the world is either not on the queue or at the end it. These vaccines are not promising a stop to the spread of this virus but are a way to curb it.
A Message of Hope
Permit me to say that people prayed last year more than ever before, and we all know that Prayers bring hope for a better future. What if these vaccines, having gone through several tests and trials, are products of an answered prayer? I read the account of a Christian who took one of the vaccine trials on americanmagazine.org, and it taught me about the message of hope.
Let’s go back to Jabez. The man prayed and hoped that his prayers would get answered. The scriptures did not record any of his other activities on earth except that his name meant pain and sorrow. He probably never prayed before that special one he had. He appeared to be so inconsequential in his lineage, yet he hoped for an answer to his prayers. First, he had a HUNGER for change, and then he had FAITH that God was able to change his destiny, and that faith became HOPE that God WOULD make him honorable.
The above was the process he went through to achieve the results that he got. Christians globally stood as one to fight this pandemic in prayers. We built one big prayer wall because we wanted to break loose from its grip. We held hands in space, and by faith, we believed in the hope that we have in Christ that a solution will emerge. Now I am not saying that these vaccines are the solution that we have prayed for, but they might be a means to a very glorious end.
How Christians Can Help
I believe that we should not fight the distribution of these vaccines. History has it that Christians partnered with health officials to treat diseases like polio, HIV, malaria, and Ebola, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. If we could be involved in doing this, why can’t we do the same with the Covid-19 Vaccines? In the global health landscape, we can deploy our resources to advocating for equitable access to these vaccines for all nations.
However, one thing we should not do is to place our hopes in these vaccines. They might be a means to curb the spread of the virus, but only God knows how the virus will come to an end. Our lives, vaccinated or not, rest in God’s hands. This reason is why 2021 is the year to hold our hands stronger and never stop praying. That prayer wall that we have so gracefully built online with church management tools such as ChurchPad must wax strong as the day goes by.