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Do Not Despair!

February 12, 2021
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Do Not Despair! | Back to the Bible Canada with Dr. John Neufeld

Those of us who live in Canada are getting an interesting lesson in global politics and priorities these days.  We are now all aware that we have no manufacturing capacity to produce one of the vaccines to fight the pandemic.  We are wholly reliant on manufacturing facilities in other countries.  Our nearest neighbour, the US, will be sending us none.  We have approved two vaccines for use, but both arrive in this country from Europe.  At present, it seems that Europe is working to be vaccinating ahead of us.  Furthermore, a third vaccine soon to be approved is manufactured in India.  At the time of this writing, Canada is not yet on the list to receive vaccines from India, although we have heard some hopeful signals that we will.  At what speed remains to be seen.  Many Canadians are becoming aware that we will have to wait, while other countries are vaccinated ahead of us.  It’s a lesson in learning humility, and our place in the world.

It’s also a lesson in scarcity and global politics.  Nations that manufacture the vaccine will fight hard to care for their citizens first.  If it seems that we are hard done by in Canada, imagine that you lived in one of the poor countries of the world.  There, one might have no assurance that an effective vaccine will arrive at all.  I wonder how it feels to be poor and to watch as the rich countries feed themselves, while the rest of the world is waiting to see what crumbs might yet fall from the table.  At present, most countries of the world have not yet begun a vaccination program.

Romans 8:20 declares that the creation was subjected to futility.  Later, in verse 22, Paul says that the creation is groaning.  A cursed and fallen creation is a creation in which disease is a part of the human experience.  But it is also a world in which we soon find who will eat, and who will watch.  Furthermore, the modern miracle of vaccines comes against a fight in which the virus is mutating.  How long will this battle go on?  Many are weary, and desperately want the world to return to what it was a short time ago.

Those of us, who place our hope in Christ share in a sin-cursed creation with the rest of mankind.  We are not exempt from the wars, plagues, diseases, disasters and famines that strike this world.  We suffer alongside the rest of the human race.  But if we are informed by the scripture, our outlook on the sufferings of this present age are decidedly different.  According to Romans 8:22, the creation may be groaning, but the groans of creation are the groans of childbirth.  We believe we stand on the verge of a new era.  Christ is returning, and the age of sin and death will be no more.

Furthermore, Romans 8 reminds us that for those of us who believe, God uses all things to further our eternal long term benefit.  And then, Romans 8:31 asks, “What shall we say to these things?”  That is, what shall we say to living in a sin-cursed creation, yet having been given the promises of our eternal God?  Our passage says that we are to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  We are not able to view the present time with despair, for we have an enduring hope.

Romans 8:32 then adds, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  Indeed!

It is possible for believers to feel the weight of the pandemic and to groan.  But when we reflect upon the promise of God in Jesus, it is not possible to live in continual despair.

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