This week, I got my first dose of the Covid vaccine.
I’m not kidding when I say this makes me emotional. People we love have died from this disease, and we have felt helpless to do anything except wear our masks, wash our hands, and hunker down. We will still be doing these things as we wait and watch to see what impact the vaccines have on the world.
But, today, I thought of Abigail Adams and the Book of Proverbs.
Stay with me.
The story of Abigail Adams and the family’s inoculation against smallpox is worthy of a longer read. Google it. The basic story is this: Smallpox was killing people with a vengeance. The newborn nation had just declared independence. Abigail’s husband was off in Philly taking care of that business. So, Abigail loaded up their four children and trundled off to Boston, ten difficult miles away.
In Boston, the entire family submitted to an inoculation against smallpox.
The process included scraping an opening in the skin and then slathering it with pus that had been scraped from a person who had smallpox. This was gross. And dangerous. And made Abigail and the children very sick. But, it worked. They had a milder form of the disease. None of them died. And they became immune. (NOTE: This is not how our current vaccine works. I am not getting a milder case of the disease.)
Interesting side note: One of the people who helped create this vaccine decades before was a pastor, Cotton Mather. He learned the technique from enslaved Africans including a man named Onesimus. You can read the story of the original Onesimus in the Bible. You will say, “Wow. That’s a cool connection.”
Eventually, enough people were inoculated against smallpox to ERASE it from the world.
It is gone. Nobody gets it anymore. That is our goal with the Covid vaccine. This is also where the Book of Proverbs comes in. Many diseases that once ravaged the world have been entirely conquered by breakthroughs in medical science. Even the lowly antibiotic is taken for granted today. But, before it’s discovery, President Coolidge’s son died from an infected finger after getting a blister playing tennis.
Enter the Book of Proverbs. Men and women of science do brilliant work. I’m grateful to them. But, underpinning all their study, experimentation, calculation, and questioning lies the hand of God. If you are a person of faith, you already know this. All knowledge originates with God. Kings search out a matter. It is God’s pleasure to reveal things. And, that wisdom from God helps scientists discover “witty inventions” according to Proverbs 8:12.
I am so grateful. To all who have gone before us and who have risked so much in discovery. To our current scientific world who has put forth a heroic effort to stop this plague. And, most of all, to God who bends low to hear us as we pray. And who answers us sometimes with a miracle that calls Lazarus from the grave. And sometimes whispers into the ear of a listening soul, “Try this. It will work.”
And it does.