This post is part of an ongoing series of articles considering the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically the vaccine for that disease, and deliberating on how the Christian should respond to this situation.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine analogous to life insurance?
In my September 22 post, “Some Trust in Chariots,” I had argued that, according to Psalm 20:6-9, the Bible teaches those who are of faith to wholly trust upon the LORD when they are threatened with danger, and not to run to the protection offered by those in the world. I have received good feedback on this post and wanted to respond to some of that feedback.
A NEEDED CAVEAT
First, let me cover something that I did not address in the previous post. There are some Christians who have very limited choice about whether or not to take the vaccine. If you travel extensively for your work, or if you live in certain geographies (like New York City), or if your employer has made taking the vaccine a condition of employment (which must be illegal, but we won’t go there for now), then it is much more painful for you to decide not to take the vaccine. Your convictions in this regard would need to be very strong for you to vote “no jab.” I am not addressing Christians in these situations with this series of blogs.
FEAR IS THE REASON
But for the vast majority of Christians, the reason that you are getting vaccinated is fear of COVID-19. Deny it if you will, but if you are considering getting the vaccine, it is because you fear the COVID-19 virus more than you fear the possible side effects of the vaccine, so you go ahead and roll up your sleeve. Once you get the vaccine, you will feel safer than you did without the vaccine. Now you are safe at last, or at least safer.
I think what I just wrote is a fair presentation of the scenario as it now exists in our society. Now, as I examine this scenario, I am at a complete loss to see how this demonstrates trust in the Lord, especially since the Lord does not enter into the thought process. The Christian is to use his entire life as a witness for Jesus, to proclaim His power and glory (Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20), but it is impossible to glorify the Lord Jesus if He does not even enter our thought process. I would suggest that, for the majority of professing Christians, to consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is analogous to trusting in chariots and horses to deliver you in the day of distress. Should we not consider the Lord as our first and greatest source of protection?
LIFE INSURANCE AND COVID VACCINE – ARE THESE SIMILAR?
But what about the charge that the COVID-19 vaccine is basically the same idea as life insurance? That is, the person who avails themselves of life insurance is using manmade means to protect their family from the financial effects of their untimely death. In the same way, the argument goes, the COVID-19 vaccine is just another example of using manmade means to protect yourself from the COVID virus. After all, God has allowed mankind the ability to create this vaccine, so it is okay to avail ourselves of this technology and thus to protect ourselves from this virus. God has given us a brain and so it is wise to use that brain to decide that the vaccine is a good idea.
Receiving the COVID vaccine is fundamentally different than purchasing life insurance. These two actions are not analogous. They are apples and chinchillas. First, as has already been mentioned, fear is the motivation for receiving the COVID vaccine. If there were no fear, there would be no need for action, but because you fear the COVID virus and the possibility that your infection could result in death, you need protection. The vaccine satisfies your need for protection so, in the face of your fear, you trust the vaccine to protect you. Notice, you did not trust the Lord, but you specifically chose to trust the vaccine instead. The issues at stake are fear and trust, which are fundamental spiritual issues.
But there is no fear involved in the purchasing of life insurance, and neither is there any trust involved. Life insurance is sold under the terms of a contract. One party offers the life insurance for a price and the other party pays that price to obtain the benefits of the life insurance. The person purchasing the life insurance enters into the contract willingly because they have already accepted the fact that they could die at any time and therefore they could leave the family they love destitute. The life insurance company attempts to remove as much financial risk as possible by evaluating the insured and trying to guarantee that they will not die before the contract expires. But in this kind of a transaction, the contract is written to remove all need for trust. If the insured dies while they are current on their contractual obligations, the life insurance company is legally obligated to pay the life insurance benefits. There is no uncertainty and so there is no trust needed. So, instead of fear of death motivating the insured to enter into this transaction, the certainty of death makes the transaction prudent. It is purely prudent for a person to purchase life insurance so that they can fulfill their financial obligations beyond the grave. Life insurance involves no spiritual issues.
FEAR AND TRUST
Let’s pause here. While comparing the COVID vaccine to life insurance, we have arrived at the core questions involved in this discussion. The reason that the COVID vaccine is so controversial among Christians is because, in its essence, it touches the fundamentally Christian issues of trust and fear. COVID-19 threatens us and thus evokes fear. In the face of fear, we seek a refuge, a rock, a deliverer, a stronghold, a fortress, something that we can trust, to protect us from the COVID threat. The COVID vaccine offers that protection, so we trust in it.
Can you see the danger for the Christian? The LORD declares that He is God and there is no other. He is the one who demands our trust, and it is trust in Him that opens up for us the benefits of salvation. In biblical story after story and psalm after psalm, the LORD demonstrates His power and His ability to protect His people and to overwhelm and vanquish any enemy. If the LORD is present, there is no need to fear. If the LORD is present, there is no one else that we need to trust. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. THEREFORE, WE WILL NOT FEAR” (Psalm 46:1). The one who fears the LORD needs to fear nothing else. Trust in the LORD drives out all fear.
So, we should be deeply concerned when we are experiencing ongoing fear and when the LORD is not the first, and therefore, the last Person that we will trust to protect us. What do you fear that the Lord has not already vanquished? What do you trust instead of trusting the Lord?
My exhortation is to cast all your anxieties and fears upon the Lord so that you are experiencing no ongoing fears, and when you sense that there are threats closing in on you, turn to the Lord first.
SDG rmb 10/28/2021 #445