I received my Covid-19 vaccines with mixed emotions. Grateful for some form of protection while aware that absolute immunity is not guaranteed. Concerned about the possibility that I subjected myself to unnecessary risk, yet heartened by the prospect of mitigating it.
Risk. Fear. Safety. Trust. They are interrelated. And they are personal.
A risk one would take is out of the question for another. I moved to a majority Muslim nation with my husband and eleven-month-old son—sight unseen. Yet many people will not fly out of their state. While I’m afraid of driving on multi-lane highways, my sister maneuvers buses in narrow city streets.
Furthermore, benefitting others often outweighs personal risk. Global workers enter hostile regions to share the gospel. Medical professionals face communicable diseases to bring healing.
The way I look at safety vs. danger determines my choices. Who I ultimately trust affects my actions. What I fear at my core influences my thinking. My previous experience, knowledge, skill, and values all impact the chances I am willing to take.
In this case, am I more afraid of getting the virus or the unknown serum? And what am I trusting in? My sources? My gut? Science? God? Because trusting any of these doesn’t mean I’m safe. Believers with large faith still experience tragedies. Everyone dies at some point.
As a follower of Jesus, ultimately I trust in him.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?Psalm 56:3–4 NIV
But even this statement—I trust in God—seems to mean different things to different people. For example: I trust God that he made my immune system strong so I don’t need a vaccine or I trust God that he gave researchers the knowledge to create a helpful vaccine.
“I put my trust in you.” This phraseology implies an act of my will. I take my trust that is in something else and I instead deliberately put it in God, my deliverer and savior.
Putting my trust in God means (to me) that I ask the Holy Spirit to help me make the best decision I can with the information I have. I weigh the risk to myself against the need of others. And I refuse to let the voice of fear guide me, reminding myself instead that true safety is found in God’s gift of salvation (Acts 4:12).
Then I leave the results, the future, the unexpected in God’s hands. I trust in his goodness and love to carry me through whatever happens in the end.
And to those who choose differently, I seek to understand and extend grace.
What might your choices (in any area) be revealing about your fear and your trust?
Lord God, help me identify my fears, let go of them, and instead put my trust in you. Show me what decisions to make among a plethora of choices. And I accept that you love me no matter what happens.