“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
14 months. That is about how long it has been since the last time we were able to worship together in the sanctuary. 14 months. I don’t know about you, but I often feel weird when I miss a single week of church, and we’ve missed around 60 some Sundays in the church. Have you ever felt frustrated by this absence? Have you grumbled to yourself or others about how ready you are to get back to the sanctuary?
Let me give you some numbers. According to the website historyofvaccines.org, the traditional exploratory phase for the development of a vaccine is 2-4 years. The traditional process from exploration to approval is 10-14 years. Just think about that for a moment- 10-14 years. Over a decade to figure this out and get a vaccine. Yet here we are, not even a year and a half into the COVID-19 epidemic, and we have hundreds of millions of people vaccinated.
It’s easy to complain about how we haven’t been in the sanctuary for over a year. But imagine how it would be if it took us 14 years to safely get back into the sanctuary safely! Instead, in just 14 months, we were able to ensure that a good number of our congregation have been vaccinated and that we can worship in the sanctuary with very little risk to any of the people who want to be there.
Who do we have to thank for this? There has been much debate over this. Do we thank Donald Trump or Joe Biden? Do we thank Pfizer or Moderna or Johnson & Johnson? Do we thank the clinics set up across the country, the doctors, the nurses, the National Guard? Sure, all of these groups deserve thanks for trying to find the solution to this pressing problem. But I just don’t see how all this is possible without God. I know we and Christians all over the world prayed, and I truly believe that God heard us. For the process to go so quickly, for the distribution to go well, for everything to succeed despite prior evidence telling us it was unlikely, what else can we say other than that this is a miracle?
It’s been very easy to grumble over the past year, and don’t get me wrong, we’ve had plenty to complain about. Nothing like this has been seen in any of our lifetimes. But today I’d invite you to do something different. I’d invite you to think about how much worse the situation could have been, and thank God for all that He has done.