They are everywhere… reminders to get a flu shot. Like most of you, I ignored them. I got my first flu shot in college, because everyone else did, but that was the last time I thought about it for years.
Why didn’t I get flu shots annually? I didn’t need them. I never had the flu and I didn’t expect to get it. I successfully nursed my husband and children through their bouts with the nasty virus, but I seemed to be immune. I just didn’t get the flu.
However, a couple of years ago, when my oldest son succumbed, I was reminded just how brutal it could be. So, determined not to be the vehicle through which that dreaded bug might hitch a ride into my grandsons’ nurseries, I decided to get the shot.
Last fall I got the vaccine again. Last week, I got the flu.
There are those who will argue that getting the flu is reason enough not to get the vaccine in the future. After all, it didn’t prevent the illness. However, I do believe I was not as sick as I would have been had I not been vaccinated.
Some people use that same reasoning when they refuse to put their trust in God, or abandon the trust they have placed in him. After all, if God doesn’t protect me from all the bad stuff out there, then why should I trust him at all?
Well, the truth is, God is not going to protect us from every bad thing that could come against us. He is not going to protect us from suffering, injustice, misunderstandings, oppression, depression, loneliness, heartache, broken relationships, miscarriage, addiction, illness, or other debilitating circumstances. God is not a vaccine against bad things.
While God may not protect us from life’s difficulties, he does promise us that he is always with us whenever we walk through the darkest paths (Psalm 23). Not only is God with us, there is never a moment in our lives when God is not at work for us. He continually works for our good, and promises us in Romans 8:28 that he is always using everything in our lives for our good, to make us more like Christ Jesus.
When things are overwhelmingly hard – when you feel like throwing in the towel, and you wonder why God allows such horrible circumstances in your life, when you question God’s love for you, when you begin to doubt the efficacy of your faith – it is then that God wants you to rely on him, not turn from him.
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:8b-10 NIV
Have you turned away from God? Why? Was there trouble or persecution that caused you to fall away? Have the worries of life or the deceitfulness of wealth choked out your love for the Lord? Have you abandoned your walk with God, because bad things happened to you?
Perhaps witnessing the ravages of life and death around you have caused you to wonder if you should give God another chance. Maybe it’s the start of a new year that has caused you to think about these things.
Maybe you’ve simply decided that you don’t want to be the vehicle which worldliness might use to hitch a ride into your children or grandchildren’s lives. Maybe it’s seeing them growing up without God that has caused you to think about your own need to walk with God.
Perhaps you’re getting older and you’re starting to think about death. You know that everyone dies, there is no fountain of youth, and there is no vaccine against death. However, you also know that people who place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ may still suffer hard things, but of one thing, they are assured: Eternal life!
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” – John 11:25 NIV
Unlike a flu shot which must be repeated annually and which has limited efficacy, Jesus died once for all humankind. Because he is God, he is infinite, and therefore he died for an infinite number of people covering an infinite number of sins (Psalm 103). However, for Jesus’ sacrifice to be effective for you, you must claim it for yourself. You must invite Jesus into your heart and life as you surrender to him as the Lord over your life.
If you have questioned God’s power in your life, or his ability to protect you; if you have walked away from God because life was just too hard, will you consider that God is waiting to for you to turn to him so that he can deliver you.
“He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in home I take refuge.” – Psalm 144:2 NIV
Will you return to God today?