This week marked the end of the first semester of Bible Study Fellowship. If you read this message weekly, you know that we have been studying Genesis. We ended with Genesis 19, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the escape of Lot and his family, a great Bible story to keep us thinking throughout the Christmas break.
If you are like me, you’ve been watching too much news, and you are aware that Pfizer has submitted its vaccine data for emergency use authorization, and the FDA has voted to approve it. By the time you read this, the CDC may also have granted its approval. I’ve been hearing a repeated commercial on the radio in which several people are asked if they are going to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when it becomes available. The responses are basically - NO. One person says, no, that thing hasn’t been tested. Another says, they don’t even have a cure for the flu yet how can we possibly have a cure for Covid? Another says, heck no, I won’t be taking it any time soon, I’ll probably take it after four or five years.
Many of you know my background as a science teacher, and that currently I work with all of our science teachers in developing curriculum and such. After hearing this commercial several times, and hearing the stats on the news that only 40-45% of Americans plan to be vaccinated, I felt the need to supply our teachers with vetted, factual information to share with students, to help them make informed decisions. I began searching for the truth about the vaccine. Online I found the report Pfizer submitted to the FDA for review. I found a host of good videos to explain how vaccines work, how this one is different since it is an mRNA vaccine, how the immune system works, how clinical trials work, and more.
I learned that 44,000 people desired to be a part of the Phase 3 clinical trials, but due to underlying conditions and other factors, only 37,586 were able to participate. I learned that unlike many other vaccines that use weakened virus particles or an actual portion of the virus to elicit an immune system response towards immunity, the Covid-19 vaccine, uses mRNA. The vaccine, called BNT162n2, uses a segment of messenger Ribonucleic Acid, unique to Coronavirus, to stimulate an immune response that will later recognize the virus upon its entry into the body. Of the group of Phase 3 vaccine recipients, 8 contracted the virus. Of the Phase 3 recipients who received the placebo (not the vaccine) 162 contracted the virus. This made the efficacy of the vaccine 95%. None of the participants experienced severe side effects and no one died.
After reading the highlights of the report, I said, “Lord, is this our answer to prayer?” We can all think back to last December when we were praying that Coronavirus would not cross the ocean to the USA. Then in January we prayed, “Lord, what is this world coming to? Please, Lord, keep that virus away from me!” In March, we prayed for relief from all the stress and constant breaking news. In April we prayed for relief from face masks. Then in May we prayed the school year would end because we were tired of remote learning. We have been praying for our friends and loved ones sickened by the virus. We have been to more graveside funerals than we ever could have imagined. Some of us have been praying about job losses and the lack of income. Some have been praying because we are bored having no place to go. We are praying for our kids emotional health, having to learn remotely, without their friends and sports. We have been praying for an end to Covid because we have loved ones in long term care facilities and we haven’t been able to visit them. We all know nurses and other hospital staff putting their lives at risk each day to care for those stricken with Covid. The outcry against Covid-19/Coronavirus/“The Rona” has been great. Is this vaccine the answer to our prayers?
“Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.’” (Gen. 18:20-21) When I read this, I wondered who was creating the outcry. The people of Sodom were content in their sin, so it was not them. I’m sure there were other righteous people around who knew what was happening in Sodom and Gomorrah, but the one righteous person living there was Lot. Surely, Lot was praying and asking God to come solve the problems. In Genesis 19, two angels arrive in Sodom in the evening and are greeted by Lot. He graciously invites them to stay in his home and protects them from the men of the city. The angels make the men blind so they can no longer find the door to Lot’s home. The Scriptures don’t indicate much sleep, but at dawn Lot is told to gather his family and run for mountains because the Lord is going to destroy Sodom. Lot hesitated. He prayed that the Lord would intervene in the goings-on of Sodom, but when his prayer was answered, he hesitated. “When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.” (Gen. 19:16) Lot pleads with the angels and requests that he not be required to flee all the way to the mountains, but would rather flee to Zoar, and he is allowed to do so. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19:26)