Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
There has been a lot of controversy recently over the possible side effects of one of the coronavirus vaccines currently in use. Does it cause blood clots? Is it effective? The World Health Authority says “Yes, it is safe”, pointing out the very low numbers of those suffering from this particular side effect, whilst some European Governments are suspending its use pending further investigations. As many people have already received this vaccine and are awaiting the second dose, this is very concerning to them, and indeed rather frightening. Who can they trust? The WHO or their government? Who can they turn to for advice? What does the Bible say, for example?
In Acts 9:10-11 we read that in a vision the Lord appears to Ananias, a disciple working in the young church at Damascus. What God asks him to do would strike fear into the heart of any man even the most devoted Christian disciple: "Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.” Now, he might have been justified in saying: “You are joking aren’t you? This man has a warrant from the High Priests in Jerusalem to murder Christians here, and you want me to go to talk to him?”, but he doesn’t, he gets up as instructed, finds Saul lays his hands on his head and calls him brother. That took some courage! That Ananias responds to God’s call in the same manner as the young Samuel; “Here I am, Lord”, demonstrates the trust that he had in God. Not in his own human instincts but in God.
Here is a little story I wrote a few years back that I think illustrates why, like Ananias, we too can and must place our trust in the Lord:
‘Each year for the last few years a family of blackbirds has made a nest in the hedge along the end of our garden. As we hadn’t seen them this year we wondered if they had chosen to nest elsewhere. After all, there have been a number of magpies around here recently. Some people do not like magpies; noisy chattering birds with black and white plumage and a long tail quite unlike anything else in the UK. It is true that, their challenging, almost arrogant attitude has won them few friends, but as members of the crow family they are one of nature’s waste disposal experts. And, like every other creature on God’s earth they need to feed their young even if that does mean stealing the eggs or the young of smaller nesting birds. After all, they have the same right to existence as the blackbird, the robin, the blue tits or any other bird that feeds from our garden. Yet despite the threat from the magpies and indeed the other predators lying in wait for her to hatch her chicks we were delighted to see mother blackbird taking material to the hedge to make her nest yesterday. She trusted us enough to build a nest, lay her eggs and raise her young chicks here in our garden because she felt safe.’
As she trusts us not to disturb her nest so like Ananias, we can safely place our trust in the Lord. We can be confident that the doubts, the fears, the worries and the troubles which the magpies of this world represent can have no effect on us if we do. Since God loves each member of His creation unconditionally and so does not want any harm to come to them we can rely on the Wisdom of Solomon: ‘Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.’ Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV)
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years